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Richard C. Cook

Strange events are taking place in the U.S. By August 2007, a lot of very smart people were reading the tea leaves, convinced that the upper echelons of the U.S. government had their own hidden reasons for forecasting an event even more heinous than the attacks of September 11, 2001.

President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, and Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff had been hinting that another 9/11 could be coming.

Figures from the U.S. military had also projected a 9/11-type event. On April 23, 2006, for instance, the Washington Post published a statement by an unnamed Pentagon source that, “Another attack could create both a justification and an opportunity that is lacking today to retaliate against some known targets.”

9/11 was a turning point in history, and not just because it provided a pretext for the Bush administration to use off-the-shelf plans to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. The 9/11 Commission criticized the government for failing to do enough to act on danger signs that attacks may have been afoot. But a movement has formed which argues that the reality was worse—that 9/11 was an inside job staged to further the geopolitical ambitions of an elite seeking to use U.S. military power to advance its own imperialistic agenda.

What is indisputable is that from the 2000 presidential election through the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath, what New York Times columnist Paul Krugman termed a “revolutionary power” took control of the U.S. government.

Krugman’s statement, contained in the introduction to his 2005 book The Great Unraveling, has not been taken seriously enough. George W. Bush had lost the popular vote to Al Gore but was named to office by a Supreme Court that rubber-stamped what Greg Palast and others have proven was an extended process of electoral fraud in Florida. The subsequent actions and policies of the Bush/Cheney administration have been in accord with its dubious beginnings.

From the emergence of the Neocons as an ideological power base dominant over U.S. foreign policy, to destruction wreaked on the Bill of Rights by illegal surveillance of citizens, to the senseless creation of the bureaucratically monstrous Department of Homeland Security and passage of the Patriot Acts, to the initiation of “wars of choice” leading to the devastation of two nations and the killing or displacement of perhaps a million Middle Eastern non-combatants, to violation of international treaties and conventions against wars of aggression and torture of prisoners, to presiding over an economy ruined by the continued export of manufacturing jobs and the creation and deflation of the housing bubble, to the wrecking of the federal budget by over a trillion dollars of wartime expenditure, to the abandonment of the city of New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina, to tax cuts for the most wealthy while the income of the middle class has drastically eroded, and to threats to start another war, this time against Iran, based on deceptions similar to those which preceded the Iraq invasion, the Bush/Cheney administration has brought the U.S. to the brink of catastrophe.

What is now being asked is whether there was a plan that was to take place in September-October 2007 whereby the rest of the job would have been done. Speculation was that a nuclear device was to have been detonated in a U.S. city, perhaps one of the six attached to cruise missiles that were “inadvertently” carried by the Air Force B-52 bomber that flew from South Dakota to Louisiana just before Labor Day.

Check this link from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette for the official explanation of the incident:

According to the Air Force’s report, the missiles were being mothballed due to “a treaty,” but ground personnel at Minot Air Force Base “grabbed the wrong ones” and loaded missiles with nuclear warheads by mistake.

Some have argued that these nukes were secretly bound for Iran to prepare for a nuclear attack on that country. But would such a Keystone Cops routine have been necessary to prepare for military action as a contingency to implement a possible decision coming from the highest political levels?

Suppose, on the other hand, that one of the nukes was targeted for a false-flag domestic attack, perhaps a city like Portland, Oregon, where military exercises simulating a major terrorist incident had been scheduled and where residents actually were warning each other to leave town.

Was the attack to trigger an economic collapse, leading as a side-effect to a payoff of billions of dollars for the placers of the “bin Laden bets” that were reportedly made in the financial markets anticipating a fifty percent decline in stock prices? Of course such an attack would be blamed on foreign terrorists. The trail of the explosion would be found to lead to Iran, resulting in war against that nation. Would the Constitution then have been suspended and martial law declared? Would citizens have been rounded up and herded into prison camps?

Such a scenario seems unfathomable, horrendous, even incredible. But it still may have been in character for a regime whose actions have led the world to view the U.S. as the greatest existing threat to peace. Rumors about such possible events have been churning on the internet for months.

But the rumors have not been confined to “conspiracy theorists.” Regarding President Bush’s commitment to the sanctity of constitutional processes, Congressman John Olver expressed the prevailing view in government circles when he told twenty of his constituents at a private meeting in Massachusetts on July 5, 2007, that he could not support a movement to impeach Bush. According to an attendee, the reason the Congressman gave was that, “The President would declare a national emergency, institute martial law, and suspend the 2008 elections.”

Therefore we might ask if it is true, as some sources have alleged, that the reason these events have not taken place was that there was a revolt by the U.S. military, which refused to carry out the false-flag attack that may have been intended?

What then has happened differently which indicates that events may have altered or postponed such a sinister denouement to the nightmare of the last seven years?

What has happened appears to be that the U.S. establishment has decided to move to “Plan B.” This may be defined as a decision that the sway of the Bush/Cheney regime must end and that some semblance of normality should be restored, at least in appearance, by making Hillary Clinton the next President.

Of course part and parcel of any Hillary Clinton presidency would be the presence and participation of her husband, former President Bill Clinton. We may rightly speak of “the Clintons” as a unit in this context.

The signs that Hillary Clinton is the President-designee have been appearing in droves. These include her rise in the polls, especially in Iowa, the emergence of an anti-Bush surge in the mega-media, especially on MSNBC, and the appointment of Democrats with ties to the Clintons at the Defense and Treasury Departments. Other signs include the emergence of a campaign by certain well-connected websites to keep tabs on pro-Neocon news commentators and offensives being launched against some particularly obnoxious right-wing media figures such as Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh.

The way Hillary Clinton is being portrayed in the mega-media is of decisive importance, because media-owning conglomerates such as GE, Viacom, and Disney serve the interests of the establishment, not the public. Nothing makes it to the airwaves without the approval of the financial interests which control these giants. Also decisive was the appearance of Hillary and Bill on the cover of the October 6 edition of The Economist, long the keystone publication of the Anglo-American international financial empire.

The Washington Post, another establishment house organ, has noted that Hillary herself is couching her election in terms of “when, not if.” The theme she is projecting is that of an anointed insider calling for “national unity.” For this she is being duly attacked by her competitors, most notably John Edwards.

The best example of how the mega-media is telegraphing establishment intent was Chris Mathews’ lead story on Hardball on Monday night, November 5, which displayed MSNBC’s “Power Rankings” for presidential candidates. The segment began with an adulatory profile of Hillary’s campaign. Mathews then set a record for premature declaration of victory by predicting her as “the most likely winner of the Democratic nomination and presidential election” a full year before the election is even to take place.

Mathews repeated his judgment several times in what was obviously rehearsed language, even as the members of his three-person panel of commentators were trying in vain to raise objections, including the view that Hillary might not even win the Iowa caucuses or the New Hampshire primary. Mathews repeatedly overrode his own experts with his insistence that Hillary was the MSMBC pick.

Oh yes, we will have the formality of a presidential election. Doubtless some fur will fly, because Hillary will always be the Clinton the right-wing most loves to hate. So we won’t see a coronation.

It is certain, however, that the current regime will exact a price for accepting at least temporary defeat. So far the price seems to be agreement by Hillary Clinton that the conquest of Iraq is a fait accompli, that the building of the Baghdad supersize embassy will continue, that permanent military bases in Iraq will be maintained a lá Korea, and that the option of an attack on Iran will remain “on the table.”

She has not raised her voice against any of this. The vehicle by which Clinton signed on to a possible attack on Iran was her vote in favor of the Senate resolution naming the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist sponsor. Perhaps there is also an understanding between the Clintons and the Bush/Cheney camp that the latter will not be prosecuted for crimes committed in office.

No matter who becomes president in 2008, that person will be left with a nation in disarray. This includes a foreign policy that has been sacrificed to militaristic interests, the rise of a militant Russia now allied with China through the Shanghai Cooperative Organization, and a Latin America in open revolt against U.S. domination. Even maintaining a post-Bush foreign policy will be a challenge, given Condoleezza Rice’s legacy of a State Department whose morale is in shreds due to a vicious Neocon takeover of the foreign service that will persist for a generation or more.

Meanwhile, the U.S. economy is a wreck, with out-of-control debt, the housing collapse in full flower, continued erosion of manufacturing jobs, a sinking dollar, a crumbling physical infrastructure, soaring oil and food prices, out-of-control illegal immigration, and hordes of well-heeled foreigners buying U.S. assets with rapidly depreciating dollars.

The economy is in much worse shape today than when Bill Clinton took over from George H. W. Bush in 1992. It will be a miracle if the next president is able to keep the U.S. from sinking into a depression. The only qualification to this assessment lies with the large companies heavily invested in the growing Chinese economy—GM, GE, IBM, etc. But a majority of the stock of these and other corporations is owned by financial institutions, while the trickle-down effect of dividends will provide only a fraction of the purchasing power needed to keep the U.S. economy afloat.

While the views of the American public still seem to register to a slight degree, the Democrats have failed to respond to their restoration by the electorate to power in Congress by ending the Iraq War. But by their votes in 2006 and by consistently giving George W. Bush such low ratings in the polls, Americans have delivered a message. So have the many internet sites covering the real news of the war and the economy.

As well have the two maverick presidential candidates, Ron Paul the Republican and Dennis Kucinich the Democrat, who have been saying things not heard in the supine world of American politics for a long time. Things like getting rid of the inept handling of credit by the Federal Reserve and stopping the war in Iraq by exiting right now, without any more lies or excuses.

But it is by no means certain that there is much immediate hope of salvaging the nation from the current debacle. The interests of millions of Americans have been severely damaged by the financial and political malfeasance that has gone on for so long. Abroad, the deaths or ruin of large numbers of people in the Middle East must be accounted for. That region is now less stable than ever, as the situation in Pakistan shows. A negotiated two-state settlement between Israel and the Palestinians seems a distant dream. Finally, sane multilateral systems for sharing of the world’s resources among nations or dealing with global warming are nowhere in sight. And a nuclear holocaust involving the U.S. vs. Russia and possibly China is a growing danger.

Further, the U.S. economy can’t simply be “fixed.” It is too far gone for that. The elite began their takedown of the economy during the 1970s and show no signs of being able to reverse course. It started with the removal of the gold-peg to the dollar in 1971 and continued with the explosion of U.S. currency on the international scene due to the petrodollar, soaring trade and fiscal deficits, action to permanently mortgage us to military-backed dependence on imported Middle Eastern oil, a permanent tilt in favor of Israel vs. the Islamic world, and, finally, the galloping 1970s inflation.

These events led to the Fed-induced crash of 1979-83 which left us with today’s travesty of a “service” economy. Now in 2007 the Fed is trying to engineer a “soft landing” of an economy trapped in unsustainable debt and collapsing bubbles, at least until the 2008 election. But everyone knows a crash is coming, particularly as China and other nations dump the plummeting dollar as their reserve currency.

So what are the Clintons and their government-in-waiting planning? You would think they had something in mind. But maybe not. During the 1990s, Bill Clinton acted in full accord with the globalists’ agenda by continuing with the Reagan/Bush I privatization of the economy, with downsizing of government, and with promotion of the bubble that ended with the 2000 market crash. Unfortunately, it will not be as simple to engineer a repeat performance of even the ephemeral prosperity of the 1990s when what is lacking today is a real economic driver.

The grievous condition of the U.S. is reflected in an epidemic of mental and emotional illness and a rising violent crime rate. It is reflected in a USA Today poll, where 72 percent of Americans say the nation is moving in the wrong direction (74 percent in a Washington Post/ABC News poll). And who knows what disasters global warming has in store?

To face all this will require a decisive reorientation of U.S. governance. There is little in the history of the Clintons, their opportunistic style, and their passivity to the financier elite that justifies this much optimism. The financial controllers today exert more power over the U.S. economy and the nation’s politics than at any time in history. They are not giving up this power. In fact, Hillary is their “safest” choice among the Democrats in maintaining control.

Perhaps we may want to indulge in a sigh of relief at how much worse things could have been—or may still be—if Bush/Cheney unleash even more disasters. But stay tuned. The next four years are likely to be decisive—particularly because the plan to elevate Hillary Clinton may be a trap by which she is left holding the bag for an economic collapse that would make it much easier than at present for the Neocon storm troopers to rush back in.

What is absolutely certain is that the people of the world do not want war, regardless of their religion, race, or nationality. The people of the world want economic fairness. The people of the world want to live by honest labor, not bank credit. And the people of the world want an environment that is clean and safe for future generations. The only people who do not appear to want these things have been those who are currently in charge of the U.S. government.

The question now is what are the American people willing to do to assure that what is truly in the best interests of the nation will prevail? Will they continue to be manipulated by the fear which has been the basis of the Bush/Cheney mode of governance? Will they continue to act as obedient puppets as it becomes harder and harder to earn a living and raise a family in an economy throttled by debt and a declining standard of living? Will they simply vote for whom they are told to support by the media and the pollsters? Or will some decide that enough is enough and resolve to take America back in 2008?

But even if they do, can they succeed?

While Hillary Clinton is likely the designated Democratic nominee, Rudy Giuliani leads the polls for the Republicans. Giuliani, with his own group of Neocon advisers and his militant outbursts promising more war, is the ideological godson of Bush/Cheney.

Whoever is pulling the strings behind the scenes, it is likely obvious to them that to allow a character like Giuliani to step in while so many raw nerves are exposed among the American populace could lead to a premature explosion. Especially since Giuliani spent most of his adult life as a prosecutor putting people in jail. It’s hardly a time in the nation’s life when what is needed as head of state is an expert at slamming people into detention.

So what if Giuliani actually threatens to defeat Hillary while the establishment has decided to support her, perhaps just to buy time?

The establishment is taking precautions. It seems to be doing so by starting to promote a plan that could see Ron Paul running as a third-party candidate. You can see this unfolding, for instance, in his favorable treatment on CNN’s “Situation Room.” And could Dr. Paul really have begun suddenly to raise enormous amounts of campaign cash without someone in the establishment giving a green light?

Ron Paul as a candidate would obviously generate enormous excitement. But he could end up playing the same role as Ross Perot in the 1992 election, where Perot allowed disgruntled voters to let off steam while drawing enough votes to allow Bill Clinton to defeat George H.W. Bush.

One way or the other, the fix is on.

Finally, we should note that the “revolutionary power” Paul Krugman refers to is not just the Bush/Cheney/Neocon regime. They are only the most visible recent manifestation.

The true “revolutionary power” is much less visible but may reasonably be identified with the higher echelons of the “financier elite” and “establishment” referred to throughout this article. The underlying agenda of this group seems to be to destroy the U.S. as the world’s greatest industrial democracy, turn it into a province of a globalist system under their control, and use its land and population as muscle for world monetary and military dominance.

Can anything be done? Of course. The underlying problem is that the power and wealth acquired by the U.S. after World War II has eroded—has perhaps been squandered—as the rest of the world has grown up. Certainly, if the right people were in charge the U.S. could accept the inevitable, rebuild its failed domestic economy on democratic principles, and assume its rightful place as one of several major world powers, with the responsibility this would entail. Instead, we have been trying to hold onto what has slipped away by a continued resort to financial aggression combined with force of arms, rather than altruistic action based on enlightened ideals.

It’s a failed mission. What has happened to America in the last decade is turning into the greatest tragedy of modern history.

And what can ordinary people do while all this is unfolding? The best advice seems to be not to try to hoard paper assets, which the elite are able easily to manipulate or devalue. It’s to get out of debt, hone our manual skills, invest in a small business, grow our own food, stay positive, help others, work hard, eschew the consumption lifestyle, pray and meditate, be sober, and learn to think for ourselves. We might try to work within the political system if we can and want to, but should not count on easy successes, because, as the man said, “It’s a hard rain’s gonna fall.”

Ellen Brown

On October 25, 2007, the United States announced harsh new penalties on the Iranian military and its state-owned banking systems. Sanctions, bellicose rhetoric and the implicit threat of military action are goads for another war, one that critics fear is more likely to ignite a nuclear holocaust than prevent one. The question is, what makes Iran such a serious threat? The official explanation is that it is planning to develop nuclear weapons, but the head of the UN watchdog agency IAEA says he has “no concrete evidence” of an Iranian weapons program.1 Moreover, even if there were one, a number of countries have tested or possess nuclear weapons outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, including Pakistan, North Korea, India, and probably Israel; yet we don't consider that grounds for military action. Iran would just be joining a long list of nuclear powers.

Another theory says the push for war is all about oil; but Iran supplies only 15 percent of total Persian Gulf oil exports, and its oil is already for sale.22 We don't need to go to war for it. We can just buy it.

A third theory says the saber-rattling is all about defending the dollar. Iran is threatening to open its own oil bourse, and it is already selling about 85 percent of its oil in non-dollar currencies. Iran has broken the petrodollar stranglehold imposed in the 1970s, when OPEC entered into a covert agreement with the United States to sell oil only in U.S. dollars. As Dr. Krassimir Petrov explained this potential motive in a 2006 editorial in

As long as the dollar was the only acceptable payment for oil, its dominance in the world was assured, and the American Empire could continue to tax the rest of the world. If, for any reason, the dollar lost its oil backing, the American Empire would cease to exist. Thus, Imperial survival dictated that oil be sold only for dollars. . . . If someone demanded a different payment, he had to be convinced, either by political pressure or military means, to change his mind.3

An interesting theory, but it still fails to explain all the facts. In a March 2006 editorial in Asia Times Online, William Engdahl noted that war with Iran has been in the cards as part of the U.S. Greater Middle East strategy since the 1990s, long before Iran threatened to open its own oil bourse.4 And Iran is not alone in wanting to drop the dollar as its oil currency. To curb currency risks, Russia is planning to open an Energy Stock Exchange in St. Petersburg next year to trade oil in rubles, something that will have significantly more impact on the dollar than Iran's oil bourse. Central bankers in Venezuela, Indonesia, and the United Arab Emirates have all said they will be investing less of their reserves in dollar assets due to the dollar's weakening global position.5 Those countries are liable to switch to other currencies for their oil trades as well. Will the United States feel compelled to invade them all?

Each of these theories has some merit, but none of them seems to adequately explain the war drums. What is so special about Iran that keeps it squarely in the cross-hairs of the U.S. military? Here is another possibility: besides oil and the dollar, Iran poses a serious threat to a secret financial weapon that keeps a global banking empire in power . . . .

The Bankers' Financial Weapon of Mass Destruction

Around 1980, when interest rates were soaring, Johnny Carson quipped on The Tonight Show that “Scientists have developed a powerful new weapon that destroys people but leaves buildings standing - it's called the 17% interest rate.” Compound interest is the secret weapon that has allowed a global banking cartel to control most of the resources of the world. The debt trap snapped shut for many countries in 1980, when international interest rates shot up to 20 percent. At 20 percent interest compounded annually, $100 doubles in under 4 years; and in 20 years, it becomes a breathtaking $3,834.66 The devastating impact on Third World debtors was underscored by President Obasanjo of Nigeria, speaking in 2000 about his country's mounting burden to international creditors. He said:

All that we had borrowed up to 1985 was around $5 billion, and we have paid about $16 billion; yet we are still being told that we owe about $28 billion. That $28 billion came about because of the injustice in the foreign creditors' interest rates. If you ask me what is the worst thing in the world, I will say it is compound interest.7  

In the late 1970s, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund began imposing “conditionalities” on loans to Third World debtor countries, requiring them to open up their capital markets, privatize their industries, and slash spending on social programs to insure that international lenders got their interest. By 2001, enough money had flowed back to First World banks from Third World debtors to pay the principal due on these loans six times over; but interest had consumed so much of those payments that the total debt actually quadrupled during the same period.88 In 1980, median income in the richest 10 percent of countries was 77 times greater than in the poorest 10 percent. By 1999, that gap had grown to 122 times greater. In December 2006, the United Nations released a reported titled “World Distribution of Household Wealth,” which concluded that 50 percent of the world's population now owns only 1 percent of its wealth, while the richest 10 percent of adults owns 85 percent. Under current conditions, the debts of the poorer nations can never be repaid but will just continue to grow.

Miracle or Crime?

What bankers call the “miracle” of compound interest is called “usury” under Islamic law and is considered a crime. In the sixteenth century, Martin Luther redefined “usury” to mean the taking of “excess” interest; but under Old English law, taking any amount of interest was a crime. Modern Islamic thinkers are not averse to a profitable return on investment if it takes the form of “profit-sharing,” with investors taking some risk and sharing in business losses; but the usurer gets his interest no matter what. In fact he does better when the borrower fails. The borrower who cannot afford to pay off his loans sinks deeper and deeper into debt, as interest compounds annually to the lender. In The Coming First World Debt Crisis (2006), Ann Pettifor gives this modernized definition of “usury”:

Usury is the practice of exalting money values over human and environmental values; of creating money at no cost and lending at rates of interest intended not to foster and maintain humanity or the ecosystem, but to

a) accumulate reserves of unearned income;

b) extract wealth from the productive sector in a manner that is parasitic;

c) extract wealth from those who lack wealth (the asset-less); and

d) make a claim on the future.

It is this debt scheme, with its lethal weapon of interest compounded annually, that has allowed a small clique of financiers to dominate the business of the world. In Tragedy and Hope, Professor Carroll Quigley, Bill Clinton's mentor at Georgetown University, wrote from personal knowledge of this group, which he called “the international bankers.” He said their aim was “nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole,” a system “to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements.”99 The key to the bankers' success was that they would control and manipulate the money systems of the world while letting them appear to be controlled by governments.

The majority of the world has now been brought into this private central banking scheme, with private banks creating most of the money of most countries as interest-bearing loans. In the United States, the only money created by the government today consists of coins, which compose only about one one-thousandth of the total money supply. Federal Reserve Notes (dollar bills) are created by the Federal Reserve, a private banking corporation, and lent to the government; while the vast bulk of the money supply is created by commercial banks when they make loans, something they do by advancing “credit” created with accounting entries. Similar arrangements prevail in most countries. Even where the central bank is technically state-owned (as in the United Kingdom and Canada), it creates only the nation's paper currency, leaving 95% or more of the money supply to be created by commercial banks.10

The alternative to this independent “central bank” system is what used to be called “national banking.” The nation's state-owned central bank issued the national currency as an agent of the government, and spent the money or lent it into the economy for internal development and public needs. The goal of the international bankers was to “privatize” these state-owned banks and other state-owned or locally-owned assets, making them available for purchase and control by international finance capital. At a 1968 meeting in Canada of the secretive globalist group known as the Bilderbergers, George Ball, U.S. Undersecretary of State for Economic Affairs, spoke of creating a “world company.” Ball was also a managing director of banking giants Lehman Brothers and Kuhn Loeb. The world company of which he spoke would be a new form of colonialism, in which global assets would be acquired by economic rather than military coercion. The company would extend across national boundaries, aggressively engaging in mergers and acquisitions until the assets of the world were subsumed under one privately-owned corporation, with nation-states subservient to a private international central banking system.11

The first step in the process of prying resources loose from local economies was to induce national leaders to open up their capital and currency markets. In 1971, President Nixon took the U.S. dollar off the gold standard, making it the world's “reserve currency” without the tether of gold. Dollars could then be created and lent to whatever extent lenders could find borrowers for them. In 1974, OPEC was induced to enter into an agreement to trade its oil only in U.S. dollars, and the price of oil then suddenly quadrupled. Countries that did not have the dollars they needed to buy oil had to borrow them. The IMF then imposed its “conditionalities,” including the privatization of state-owned oil industries and banks. In the ensuing decades, this and other predatory lending schemes brought most of the world under the heel of the international bankers.11

When Dominoes Won't Fall

Iran was among the few nations to have escaped this global privatization scheme. Iran had its own oil. It managed to avoid the trap of letting its currency be devalued by speculators by imposing foreign exchange restrictions and price controls on its national currency (the rial), something it could afford to do because it had adequate foreign exchange reserves from its oil sales.12 Iran's state-owned oil industry has allowed its economy to perform well, despite economic sanctions and rumors to the contrary.13 A “reformist” movement toward increased privatization ended in 2005, when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected to the presidency. Ahmadinejad is a “populist” who has promised to redistribute Iranian oil wealth more expansively and has committed the government to funding public-sector projects and charitable investments.14

Islamic scholars have been seeking to devise a global banking system that would serve as an alternative to the usury-based scheme now in control internationally, and Iran has led the way in devising that model. Iran is characterized as a democratic Islamic republic, which enforces Islamic principles not only morally but legally and politically. The 1979 revolution overthrowing the American-backed Shah of Iran ended 2,500 years of monarchical rule. All domestic Iranian banks were then nationalized, and the government called for the establishment of an Islamic banking system that would replace interest payments with profit-sharing. Its state-owned central bank issues the national currency, with the “seigniorage” (the difference between the cost of producing money and its face value) accruing to the government rather than to private banks.15 The Iranian government is among the few to have very little foreign debt. It uses its state-owned banks to make loans and credits available to industrial and agricultural projects. The most unique feature of the banking system, however, is that it follows the Islamic proscription against usury. That means loans are made interest-free.16

At least, that is true in principle. To make their system work with the prevailing scheme, Islamic economists have had to come up with some creative definitions of “interest.” Assuming Iran can develop a workable alternative model, however, it might well threaten the usury-based banking system that now dominates international finance and trade. If governments were to start doing what banks do now - advancing “credit” created out of nothing with accounting entries - they could sidestep the hefty interest that is the principal cost of most government programs today.

Estimates are that eliminating interest charges could cut the cost of infrastructure, sustainable energy development and other government programs in half.17 Third World economies might then escape the grip of the global bankers, bringing a 300-year global banking empire crashing down.

The size of the stakes was suggested by Tarek El Diwany, a British expert in Islamic finance and the author of The Problem with Interest (2003). In a presentation at Cambridge University in 2002, he quoted a 1997 United Nations Human Development Report which said:

Relieved of their annual debt repayments, the severely indebted countries could use the funds for investments that in Africa alone would save the lives of about 21 million children by 2000 and provide 90 million girls and women with access to basic education.

El Diwany commented, “The UNDP does not say that the bankers are killing the children, it says that the debt is. But who is creating the debt? The bankers are of course. And they are creating the debt by lending money that they have manufactured out of nothing. In return the developing world pays the developed world USD 700 million per day net in debt repayments.” He concluded his presentation:

But there is hope. The developing nations should not think that they are powerless in the face of their oppressors. Their best weapon now is the very scale of the debt crisis itself. A coordinated and simultaneous large scale default on international debt obligations could quite easily damage the Western monetary system, and the West knows it. There might be a war of course, or the threat of it, accompanied perhaps by lectures on financial morality from Washington, but would it matter when there is so little left to lose? In due course, every oppressed people comes to know that it is better to die with dignity than to live in slavery. Lenders everywhere should remember that lesson well.18  

That could explain the big guns trained on Iran. The intent may not be to thwart the development of nuclear weapons so much as to pluck a budding economic alternative out by its roots before it has a chance to spread. Dominoes that won't fall into the debt trap must be pushed. Like in the brutal attacks in Lebanon in July 2006, the military targets in Iran are liable to be economic ones - ports, bridges, roads, airports, refiners.1920 The threat posed by Iran's economic model will be obliterated by blasting it back into the Stone Age.

Ellen Brown, J.D., developed her research skills as an attorney practicing civil litigation in Los Angeles. In Web of Debt, her latest book, she turns those skills to an analysis of the Federal Reserve and "the money trust." She shows how this private cartel has usurped the power to create money from the people themselves, and how we the people can get it back. Her eleven books include the bestselling Nature's Pharmacy, co-authored with Dr. Lynne Walker, which has sold 285,000 copies. Her websites are and

Richard K. Moore

In order to understand anything about American political affairs, it is necessary to have some understanding of who it is that really makes the decisions behind the scenes, and what their interests are. In this way we have some hope of identifying the hidden agendas being served by government actions and programs, and some hope of identifying the longer-term strategies that are in play.

It turns out—and informed people should already know this—that the U.S. is essentially owned and managed by a small clique of wealthy families—the ones who own and control the Federal Reserve. The Rockefellers are the obvious and well-known members of this clique, but there are others less well-known, not all American, and some whose identity remains to this day a carefully guarded secret. We don’t even know exactly who it is that’s running the show.

Such has been the nature of our ‘democracy’ since 1913, when the Federal Reserve Act was snuck through Congress during Christmas recess, by the same folks who funded Woodrow Wilson’s campaign and who became the private owners of the new all-powerful central bank. The first major initiative of these folks, the ancestors of our current ruling clique, was to finance both sides in Europe during World War I, and then to connive the entrance of the US into the war just in time to tilt the balance to the side favored by the clique—the same pattern that later characterized World War II.

From that point forward American policy-making has been firmly in the hands of the original Federal Reserve clique and its descendents. The mainstream media is also under the thumb of the same clique, so that public opinion is never allowed to interfere with fundamental clique objectives. The media can be used to support sitting Presidents, or to undermine them, depending on which best enhances those objectives. No President who has turned on these people has survived long in office, as we saw most recently in the case of JFK. The tentacles of the clique reach also into the top echelons of all the Intelligence services and the Pentagon, and into those influential globalist forums, such as the WTO, the Trilateral Commission, and the Bilderbergers.

Bush and the neocons have been mere tools-of-the-day for this clique. The neocons happened to be promoting a package that appealed to the clique, that promised to advance some of its objectives. In selecting the neocons to be the drivers behind a new administration, the clique was by no means adopting the neocon philosophy, nor were they buying into the whole PNAC package. They were simply employing a convenient tool that was aligned tactically with clique interests for the time being. Any such tool can be discarded whenever its behavior becomes counter-productive, or when a better tool comes along. There is always a Plan B in the wings for any tool that might go rogue or go sour.

Bush, who has probably never even read the PNAC agenda, was selected for entirely different reasons. Knowing that the agenda would be highly unpopular, the clique decided that defending it logically would be very difficult, even with complete control over the media. An articulate and intelligent President would look like a fool if he tried to defend the insane policies. So, our clique slyly figured, why not put someone up there who is obviously a fool, right through his whole little soul, so that the public will believe they are struggling against the foolishness of one man, and have no understanding of what’s really going on. Of course Bush, being clueless on all matters apart from golf, looting, cocaine, and womanizing, would need to be kept far away from any role in running the White House. Hence the need for Cheney, the shadow real president, who leaves all the photo ops to Bush, who stays out of the public eye himself, and who carries the Black Armageddon Box with him everywhere he goes, something only official Presidents have done in the past.

This was the project that went operational in the form of Bush’s initial Presidential campaign. The ducks were all lined up for launching a major imperialist venture, the preparations for 9/11 were well underway, and no power on Earth was going to stop the Bush Show. Of course Bush The Clueless was going to win, no matter how much vote fixing and media lying was required, or how many Supreme Court Justices were needed to accomplish the task. As a last resort they wouldn’t have hesitated to off Gore, one of their own boys, if it was the only way to open the path for their current man, a tactic they used earlier with Bobby Kennedy. Of course now that we have Diebold machines, all of this can be accomplished by a single computer command message, specifying which candidates are to get which percentage of votes in each precinct. Exit polls have been abandoned since they provide hard statistical evidence of the systematic fix.

The neocons have accomplished much for their elite puppeteers, and have been given in return free reign to loot at will, funneling all those billions for the Iraq War into their own corporate coffers and investment portfolios. They for their part have established the foundations of a fascist state in the US and Canada, secured Iraq’s oil reserves, built permanent forward mega-bases in Iraq, successfullly destabilized Iraq and prepared it for balkanization, secured pipeline routes in Afghanistan, restored the profitable opium trade, and made progress toward achieving the first-strike capability that will be needed when the time comes to take on Russia and China. Quite a bundle of major achievements in a very short time indeed. But to our clique, the question always is, “What have you done for me lately, Sunshine?”

The neocon intention to bomb Iran was the point where the tool went sour, and threatened to go rogue. Anyone who thought seriously about what bombing would lead to knew that an attack would quickly spiral out of anyone’s control—given the advanced arms that Russia has supplied to hot-headed Iran, and given the fact that the powder keg would involve a trigger-happy, nuclear potent, clinically-deranged Israel. Russia and China would of course be on ultra-high scrambled alert, poised to intervene with due force if the spiral crossed certain unspecified lines in the sand. The neocons knew this and the clique knew this. Any attack on Iran, no matter how well planned, limited, and executed, would be playing Russian roulette with World War III.

The neocons were ready to take this step, to play this game, and they were in a very advanced stage in their preparations, of both the military and the psy-op variety. Quite obviously they were not deterred by the possibility of all-out global nuclear war. This has nothing to do with Bush’s pretended belief in Revelations and the ascension of the elect, but rather with the neocons’ evident belief that they were ‘ready for the big one’, copying a page directly out of Dr. Strangelove, with the neocons in the role of Jack D. Ripper. Unlike the demented SAC base commander, however, the neocons were forced to telegraph their moves, and the clique was not pleased with the scenario. They knew the first-strike capability was not nearly ready—and Russian roulette is not a game they ever play. They play only when they hold all the top cards and own a controlling interest in the casino.

So the time had come to pull the plug on the neocon tool. It was surprisingly easy to do. The first step, taken who knows how long ago, was to put the word discreetly to the Joint Chiefs that the Iran project is off, regardless of what orders might come from the White House or the Black Box. This news, of course, was to be kept in the room, as it surely was. Once the castle was thereby made secretly safe, it was a trivial matter to plant the seeds that would unravel the whole gone-sour, rogue-threatening, neocon bandwagon. A simple but devastating Intelligence announcement, a few whispers to key Bilderberger players that it was open season on the American contingent at the next meeting, and various other subtle and quite easy moves. It takes little, after all, to bring down a house of cards, particularly one propped up by a weak joker. The clique as usual remains invisible.

Certain elements in the White House know what’s happening by now, while others seem to still think the neocon agenda is the order of the day. It seems pretty obvious that Cheney was briefed in advance, and has some kind of golden parachute in his Xmas stocking. I haven’t heard a peep from him since we first learned of the clique reversal, when the Intelligence announcement became public knowledge. Bush is by now imagining Cheney as a reincarnated Judas, and practicing how he’ll say “Et tu, Brute?” if the opportunity arises. And yet Bush evidently still hasn’t caught on that his chip has been turned off, him and that fellow Gates, both of whom still act as if the tractor is still in gear. I guess they’ll go down like the fellow in the Monte Python film...“Go ahead, cut off my other arm. I’ll still beat you.”

What happens next will be ratcheting in gains and preparing a fresh new story line. That is to say, none of the very impressive (ie, horrific) achievements of the neocons will be undone, and yet the American people will be led to believe that the evils are in the past—the same standard tactic that we saw work so well when Nixon resigned. The media will be filled with fresh new story lines, along with bright intelligent confident reassuring empathetic Earth-loving new faces, plus other new fantasies—and the Bush experience will fade from public memory, along with last season’s football scores. Such an advantage it is for our rulers, that we Americans have such tiny memory spans and such limited powers of independent observation, compared to the rest of the world’s population. I guess the purpose of the melting pot was to melt away our basic intuitive judgment.

It’s not quite time for the surprise attack on the Wicked Witches of the East. Space-based warfare is still in Beta Test. Nor is it necessary to proceed at the moment with the full unleashing of the Gestapo, the SS Storm Troopers, concentration camps, forced labor, and the whole nine yards. The neocons have diligently built the foundations for all this, both in concrete and in legal precedent, but the project is for the moment on hold and the neocons off mission. When the time comes to resume project, that will be perceived as a new response to an unexpected emergent scenario, and no deferred continuity with the Bush era will be noticed.

I suggest that we can see the focus of the next US administration by paying attention to Al Gore. He’s going around preaching the gospel of climate change, and that is rapidly becoming the new cause celebre for the ‘international community’. It’s more than a campaign by Gore, we’re seeing a campaign being supported by the mass media, by the powers that be. We are clearly being prepared for a ‘new show’, after the ‘Bush show’, and the ‘new show’ is going to be about carbon taxes and credits, new energy sources, more efficient cars, biofuels, and all those other things that are allegedly related to climate change and peak oil.

In order to clear the way for the new show, it seems pretty clear that the new administration will begin with some easy political wins, by rapidly cleaning up some of the obvious messes left by the neocons. Closing down Guantanamo, and declaring that rendition flights have been abandoned, would gain a lot of points at no real cost (secret flights and prisons would undoubtedly continue). Iraq has already been destabilized and prepared for balkanization, and permanent US bases have already been built. Another easy win will be for US troops to withdraw to their bases and the oil fields, for the war to be declared over, and for Iraq to be split up into ethnic provinces, leaving them to squabble among themselves. It can all be portrayed in the media as a ‘victory for peace and democracy’.

What then, can we expect from this new show? What consequences are likely to follow from implementing the kind of policies that Al Gore and the media have been talking about, around climate change, energy independence, etc.? What is our ruling clique really trying to accomplish?

At a general level, it is clear that those kinds of policies do not involve fundamental changes in how our societies operate. We’ll still have cars, only they might be a bit more efficient, and we’ll be paying more for fuel and taxes to operate them. We’ll still be shipping products from China that we could produce locally, and we’ll still be depending on long-distance trucking. We’ll still be using agricultural methods that are highly petroleum-dependent, for tractors, fertilizers, and pesticides. Research and development of new energy sources will lead to lots of government subsidies, and it may get us a bit more energy, but not nearly enough to replace petroleum. As long as our transport and other infrastructures remain basically unchanged, we remain unsustainable, dependent on petroleum, and none of the Gore-like initiatives change the overall energy picture, carbon picture, or climate picture in any significant way.

In order to begin figuring out what the real agenda is, behind Gore-like policies, let’s look first at one example: biofuels. Producing biofuels does give us another energy source, but it also removes land from food production. As a consequence of the already-existing biofuels market, market prices for grain and other potential biofuels are now being driven by energy prices. Global food prices are therefore rising rapidly, while at the same time food-production acreage is being reduced. These two things will directly and drastically increase world hunger and starvation, particularly in the poorest regions. A Gore-inspired administration will be promoting an expansion of biofuel programs on a global scale, and it will be patting itself on the back for its noble oil-saving deeds.

All of this will be occurring in a context where we are facing a global food crisis generally. We haven’t seen many headlines on this topic, but the world is sitting on the brink of a major food crisis. Emergency stockpiles are at low ebb, production levels are down, crop failures are up, etc. It’s a very nasty picture even without biofuels.

In this context, the net consequence of a major biofuel agenda comes down to intentional genocide. In order to provide marginally more fuel to the over-consuming industrialized nations, untold millions will starve in the third world, in addition to those untold millions that are already starving. The marginal energy gain is so small by comparison, that we must accept that the biofuels agenda is primarily about genocide. However when we begin reading about new famines breaking out, perhaps in Brazil where biofuels are now going into massive production, the headlines will blame it on droughts, or crop failures, or some other excuse, as they always do. We will meanwhile feel a ‘green glow’ every time we fill up our Prius with biofuels, unaware of what damage we are doing. And perhaps we’ll donate to Oxfam, or adopt some third world child and send them letters.

A Gore agenda is simply genocidal imperialism hiding under a new mask, a new show. Instead of killing off the Indians by killing their buffalo, it kills off populations by removing their access to food in other ways. Once again, ‘they’ must be sacrificed so that ‘our’ way of life can continue and expand. We might note here that more Iraqis died under Bill Clinton’s sanctions that have been killed in the current Iraq war. In Bill Clinton’s time the pattern was invisible genocide, rather than the more violent Bush variety. Apparently in Hillary Clinton’s time we are to return to that earlier invisible pattern.

Clearly the consequences of a Gore agenda are genocidal, but one might question whether that is a primary intended outcome. I’ve been suggesting that it is, and I think more elaboration is in order on that point. I haven’t made the case very well yet. I’ve merely presented some of the evidence and suggested a pattern. In order to get a proper perspective on this issue, we need to step back a bit, and consider the bigger picture of the industrialized world vis a vis the third world, in the face of a broad range of mounting resource shortages—the strategic perspective of our ruling clique.

It seems very clear that the industrialized nations have no intention of changing the basic path they are on, or of abandoning capitalism. We can expect only more industrial growth, more energy consumption, continued use of energy-intensive agricultural methods, etc. The energy band-aids of a Gore agenda make no significant difference in this picture whatever, they simply affirm the intention to proceed with business as usual.

The only way the industrialized North can continue on this path is by taking over more and more of the third world’s land, water, and resources for its own use. As the industrial appetite for resources continues to grow at a rapid rate, and as our global resources are increasingly stressed, we are going to see a very rapid expansion of third world hunger and starvation -- the globalization of African-scale famines. This is inevitable while the North stays on this basic path, whether we have Gore-like policies or some other set of policies is of little consequence.

This ‘inevitability’ of mass die-offs in the third world is well known to those who run the industrial nations. From the perspective of the heights of power, the question becomes, “How can we manage these die-offs so that they cause the least disruption in the global economy, and so that they don’t arouse too much public outcry?” Of course once you begin managing die-offs, you are then engaging in genocide, ie, arranging for particular populations to die in preference to others.

The pattern for the management strategy has been made very clear in Sub-Saharan Africa, where all those civil wars, genocidal atrocities, droughts, and famines have been occurring. Not many people realize that these disasters have been systematically imposed on Africa, by means of IMF requirements, covert destabilization programs, denial of medical care, the widespread distribution of automatic weapons, the manipulations of international banks, the dedication of agricultural land and water to Northern consumption, and the list goes on. Not only is Africa being starved to death by market forces, but the process is being accelerated by covert genocidal interventions.

In Africa we see a full-scale Holocaust, a massive genocide program in process, or should I say we see it not. For in the media it’s nothing like that. We read that ‘tribal conflicts have flared up’, but we don’t hear about the two CIA bombings that were each blamed on the ‘other side’, and which ignited the fracas, a fracas that could become a civil war. We read about a famine due to ‘drought’, and we aren’t told that there would be plenty of water if it weren’t for all the coffee-export plantations using up the local water. We don’t see genocide, we see Africans befallen with unfortunate miseries, all due to the vagaries of Mother Nature.

Thus the pattern of managing die-offs becomes clear. It has been tested satisfactorily in Africa, and we can expect the proven pattern to be employed in future. They pick a population that they consider ‘redundant’, they undertake a program of acquiring that population’s resources, and then to speed up the process of removal they engage in various covert acts of genocide. In this way the world’s population can be whittled down piecemeal, and manageably, as the North gradually requires the utilization of ALL the world’s resources for its own exclusive use. Unfortunately for the North, even that won’t be enough to enable industrial growth to continue. The South is being killed off only that the unsustainable North can continue on its path a wee bit longer.

Meanwhile, the media in the North paints a picture in which only nature causes famines, and the role of the North is always to provide aid, to the extent it can. Concerned viewers are given convenient numbers to call, so they can dispel their concern with a simple donation that will ‘save a child’, or ‘give a family a goat’. No genocide around here; we’re the good guys. See no evil, feel just fine. By the way, too bad about those famines over there.

The Gore-style policies are not just genocidal, they are formidably genocidal. When they start taking massive amounts of land out of food production, and bring about a substantial increase in global food prices, in the face of an already stressed world food situation, they could bring about in a very short time—one bad harvest season—famine on a scale we have never seen before. How serious the outcome will be depends entirely on how aggressively the new administration pursues the Gore-style agenda. They’ve got genocide down to a science, with tunable parameters.

Apparently, having field-tested Holocaust tactics in Sub-Saharan Africa, a decision has been made to go global with the program. For this purpose, the Gore-style policies have the potential to be the appropriate Weapon of Mass Destruction, the equivalent in the starvation game to nukes in the kill-by-fire game. This decision to go global was evidently made some time ago, no doubt just before Gore was asked to make An Inconvenient Truth. The film was the first signal of which way the winds were going to blow, the first preview of the ‘new show’.

The primary mission of the Hillary administration, under the banners of ‘doing something about climate change and peak oil’, will evidently be to undertake a massive resource grab in the global South, leading to the selective and massive elimination of certain populations through starvation. In other words, the mission is to expand the starving-Africa model globally, a process that will presumably be helped along by the usual shadowy suspects in their usual destabilizing roles.

My big fear with the Bush regime was the likely attack on Iran...or was it the unleashing of the Gestapo? It was a close race in those dark days. Now we are on the verge of a regime bent on genocide on a scale that would put the Nazis to shame. I suggest that we have escaped the kettle only to fall into the frying pan.

I hope no one out there has any romantic notions about the new Administration, and I hope everyone realizes that the political process can never be used to solve our problems; that system is in fact the heart of our problem. I also hope it is clear to everyone that global genocide is an inevitable consequence of the continuation of this insane capitalist system, whether you agree with most of my analysis or not. And in the end, capitalism can’t last anyway.

Only when you have reached that deep level of hopelessness, where you see no avenue of escape, can you clear your mind enough to begin to see where the real problem lies. The real problem lies, my friends, in the fact that you and I have nothing to say about how our societies are run. Any one of us has more sense than the people who are running things, and we certainly have our fellow beings more at heart. Our problem lies in our own powerlessness, leaving power in the hands of those who always abuse it, in one way or another, in one age after another.

Our challenge as a sentient species, and our response if we seek to do anything about the growth-thru-genocide agenda, is to begin to empower ourselves, us ordinary people, without reference to the useless political process. How to pursue our empowerment must be the aim of our investigations, and pursuing that empowerment must be the point of our activism.

F. William Engdahl

The financial foundations of the American Century

The ongoing and deepening global financial crisis, nominally triggered in July 2007 by an event involving a small German bank holding securitized assets backed by USA sub-prime real estate mortgages, can best be understood as an essential part of an historical process dating back to the end of the Second World War—the rise and decline of the American Century.

The American Century, proudly proclaimed by Time-Life founder and establishment insider, Henry Luce in a famous 1941 Life magazine editorial, was built on the preeminent role of New York banks and Wall Street investment banks which had by then clearly replaced the City of London as the center of gravity of global finance. Luce’s American Century was to be built in a far more calculated manner than the British Empire it replaced.1

A then top-secret Council on Foreign Relations postwar planning group, The War & Peace Studies Group, led by Johns Hopkins President and geo-political geographer, Isaiah Bowman, laid out a series of studies designed to lay the foundations of their postwar world, already beginning 1939, well before German tanks had rolled into Poland. The American Empire was to be an empire indeed. But it would not make the fatal mistake of the British or other European empires before, namely to be an empire of open colonial conquest with costly troops in permanent military occupation.

Instead, the American Century would be packaged and sold to the world, above all the emerging countries of Africa, Latin America and Asia, as the guardian of liberty, democracy. It would clothe itself as the foremost advocate of end to colonial rule, a stance which uniquely benefited the only major power without large colonies—namely, the United States.

The new American Century world was to be led by the champion of free trade everywhere, which also uniquely benefited the strongest economy in the early postwar years, the United States. It was a brilliant, if fatally flawed concept. As State Department planning head, George F. Kennan wrote in a confidential internal memo in 1948, “We have about 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3% of its population…Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security.” 2

The core of the War & Peace Studies, which were designed for and implemented by the US State Department after 1944, was to be the creation of a United Nations organization to replace the British-dominated League of Nations. A central part of that new UN organization, which would serve as the preserver of the US-friendly postwar status quo, was creation of what were originally referred to as the Bretton Woods institutions—the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development or World Bank.3 The GATT multinational trade agreements were later added.

The US negotiators in Bretton Woods New Hampshire, led by US Treasury deputy Secretary Harry Dexter White, imposed a design on the IMF and World Bank which insured the two would remain essentially instruments of an “informal” US empire, an empire, initially based on credit, and later, after about 1973, on debt.

New York and the New York Federal Reserve Bank were the heart of the new empire in 1945. The United States held the overwhelming majority of world central bank monetary gold reserves. The postwar Bretton Woods Gold Exchange Standard uniquely benefited the role of the US dollar, then and even now world reserve currency.

All IMF member country currencies were to be fixed in value to the US dollar. In turn, the US dollar, but only the US dollar was fixed to a preset weight of gold at $35 per ounce of gold. At this fixed rate, foreign governments and central banks could exchange dollars for gold.

Bretton Woods established a system of payments based on the dollar, in which all currencies were defined in relation to the dollar. It was ingenious and uniquely favorable to the emerging financial power of New York, whose bankers actively shaped the final agreements.

In those days, in stark contrast to the present, the dollar was “as good as gold." The US currency was effectively the world currency, the standard to which every other currency was pegged. As the world's key currency, most international transactions were denominated in dollars.

Maintaining the role of the US dollar as world reserve currency has been the foremost pillar of the American Century since 1945, related to but more strategic even than US military superiority. How that dollar primacy has been maintained to now encompassed the history of countless postwar wars, financial warfare, debt crises, and threats of nuclear war to the present.

Important to place the emergence of the asset securitization revolution in global finance which is now impacting the world financial system in wave after wave of new shocks and dislocations, and to appreciate Alan Greenspan’s substantial contribution to preserving the dominance of the dollar as world reserve well beyond the point the US economy ceased being the world’s most productive industrial manufacturer, a brief review of the distinct phases in postwar dollar hegemony is useful.

The Golden Years of America’s Century

The first phase, which we might call the postwar “golden years,” saw the US emerge from the ashes of World War II as the unchallenged global economic Colossus. The US was the dominant world power; no one even came close. Over half of all international money transactions were financed in terms of dollar. The US produced more than half the world output. The US also owned about two thirds of the official gold reserves in the world in 1940.

When various European countries had reserve surpluses, they converted the surpluses into dollar reserves rather than gold because they could earn interest on dollar assets such as US Treasury bonds and dollars could always be converted into gold at $35 per ounce whenever it became necessary. The US dollar was at the center of this system.

American industry, led by General Motors, Ford and Chrysler Motors, the Big Three, were the world class leaders—no one was even close back then. US Steel (before it became USX), machine tool manufacture, aluminum, aircraft and related industries all set the benchmark for global excellence well into the 1950’s.

Above all, the American oil giants—Mobil, Standard Oil of New Jersey, Texaco, Gulf Oil—those key companies dominated the unique energy source which was to become essential to unprecedented postwar growth rates in Europe, Japan and the rest of the postwar world—petroleum.4

In this early postwar period demand for dollars in the world to finance reconstruction was so great that the primary economic problem faced in the 1950’s in Europe, Japan, South Korea and elsewhere was dollar shortages to finance imports of needed US capital equipment, its oil, its consumer products.

The US monetary gold stocks reached a record $24.6 billion in 1949, a huge sum that was comparable today to $211 billion, as gold from abroad poured into the US to pay the deficits in trade run up by foreign nations. New York, backed by gold reserves, was the unchallenged world banker.

This process began to deteriorate after a steep postwar recession in 1957-58. That recession should have been the alarm bell to US economic policy planners and industry that the unique period of profiting from the relative economic dislocation of a war-torn world was at its outer limits. Beginning 1957 the US economy was in need of a substantial regeneration, were it to remain globally competitive. That was not to happen.

By the time of the November 1967 British Sterling crisis, where the British Government was forced to violate IMF rules and devalue Sterling by 14% to maintain their economy amid severe recession, the focus turned on the fact that President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society and disastrous Vietnam War costs were causing the US government to run record budget deficits. The dollar was vulnerable to a run on US gold for the first time since the 1930’s.

To hide the extent of those deficits, the Johnson Administration introduced creative accounting. For the first time the Budget director added the funds paid by working Americans into the Federal Social Security Trust Fund, a surplus that was to have been set aside to pay future retirement and related benefits for most Americans, to the Consolidated General Budget—a start to budget fakery which by the early years of the next century were to become huge.

Johnson also began manipulation of key government economic statistics used to compute everything from unemployment to inflation to GDP. The statistical manipulations, for reasons of obvious if fateful political opportunism, were endorsed silently by every succeeding Administration, the most egregious of them being the present Bush-Cheney Administration. 5

The 1971 dollar coup

Despite all the manipulations, by 1971 US monetary gold reserves had reached a precarious low as foreign trade surplus nations, led by France, had demanded payment in hard gold from the US Federal Reserve for their dollar surpluses. Reality could not so easily be manipulated as government statistics. Europe had emerged, along with Japan, as powerful trade surplus, modern, fast-growing economies.

The United States was becoming a vast rustbelt of decaying, obsolescent manufacture. The spin-doctors of Wall Street and select think-tanks such as the Ford and Rockefeller foundations came up with a linguistic euphemism calling it the “post industrial society,” but linguistics did not change the reality. By the late 1960’s America’s once-booming industrial centers from Detroit to Pittsburgh to Chicago had become sprawling slums of decay, crime and rising unemployment.

Were the United States to lose its last gold reserves, the role of the dollar as unique world reserve currency—the pillar, along with US military superiority, of its postwar American Century imperium—would end abruptly.

To avert such a calamity, in August 1971 President Nixon huddled with his closest advisers, among them a US Treasury official named Paul Volcker, then Under-Secretary of the Treasury for International Monetary Affairs, and a long-time associate of David Rockefeller and the Rockefeller family.

Their task was to come up with a solution. Volcker’s “solution” to the massive demand to redeem US dollars for gold was to be as simple as it was to prove destructive to world economic health.

Nixon announced to a startled world on August 15, 1971 that from that day, the United States would not longer honor its international treaty obligations under the Bretton Woods Agreement. Nixon had suspended convertibility of the dollar into gold. The New York Fed’s Gold Discount Window was locked shut. World currencies went into a free float against an uncertain dollar, a so-called fiat currency. The dollar now was not backed by gold or even silver but only the “full faith and credit” of the US government, a commodity whose marketable value was beginning to be questioned.

Debt becomes the vehicle

Soon, with the implicit threat of withdrawing its nuclear shield as its prime persuasion, successive US Administrations realized that rather than depending on its role as the world’s creditor as it had until 1971, the American Century could theoretically thrive as the world’s greatest debtor, so long as American finance and the dollar dominated world finance.

As long as major US postwar satrapies 6 such as Japan, South Korea or Germany, were forced to depend on the US security umbrella, it was relatively simple to pressure their Treasuries into using their US dollar trade surpluses to buy US government debt. In the process, the US bond or debt markets became far and away the world’s largest. Wall Street primary bond dealers were replacing Pittsburg steel and Detroit car manufacture as the “business of America.”

To paraphrase the famous quip of former GM president Charles Wilson from the 1950’s, the new mantra was, “What’s good for Wall Street is good for America.” It wasn’t. The name financial “industry” even became commonplace, as if to designate money as the legitimate successor to production of real physical wealth in the economy.

Debt—dollar debt—was to be the vehicle for a new role of New York banks, led by David Rockefeller’s Chase Manhattan and Walter Wriston’s Citibank. Their idea was to extend hundreds of billions of dollars in newly acquired OPEC and other petrodollars, which they “persuaded” Saudi and other OPEC governments to bank their new oil surpluses in London or New York banks. Then those dollar deposits from OPEC, called by Henry Kissinger and others at the time, “petrodollars” went in the form of recycled loans to oil importing and dollar-starved Third World economies. 7

The Carter dollar confidence crisis

This second phase, the post-gold era, fuelled by the manipulated 1973 oil shock and US pressure on Saudi Arabia and OPEC to price oil exclusively in dollars, Kissinger’s “petro-dollar recycling,”8 rolled along without major trouble until early 1979 when the dollar faced a major foreign sell-off during the end of the Jimmy Carter Presidency. The American Century faced one of its greatest challenges at that juncture. German, Japanese even Saudi Arabian central banks began dumping US Treasury holdings in what was called a loss of “confidence” in Carter’s world leadership role.

In August 1979, to restore world “confidence” in the dollar, President Jimmy Carter, himself a hand-picked protégé of David Rockefeller’s Trilateral Commission, was forced by the big New York banks, led by David Rockefeller’s Chase Manhattan, to accept Paul Volcker, a protégé of Rockefeller’s from Chase Manhattan Bank, as new Chairman of the Federal Reserve with an open mandate to do what was necessary to save the dollar as reserve currency.

On taking office, Volcker bluntly announced, "the standard of living for the average American has to decline." He was Rockefeller’s hand-picked choice to save the New York financial markets and the dollar at the expense of the nation’s welfare.

The Volcker ‘shock therapy’

Volcker’s shock therapy, begun in October 1979, lasted until August 1982. Interest rates shot through the roof to double digits. The US and world economies were plunged into a monster recession, the worst since World War II. Within a year, the prime rate had shot up to the unheard-of level of 21.5%, compared to an average of 7.6% for the fourteen previous years, a more than threefold rise in weeks. Official US unemployment peaked at 11%, while unofficially when those who simply had given up seeking work were counted, it was far higher.


The Shock Therapy of Volcker doubled US official unemployment

The Latin American debt crisis, an ominous foretaste of today’s USA sub-prime crisis, erupted as a direct result of the Volcker shock. In August 1982 Mexico announced it could no longer pay in dollars the interest rate service on its staggering debt. It, as most of the Third World from Argentina to Brazil, from Nigeria to Congo, from Poland to Yugoslavia, had fallen for the New York banks’ debt trap. The trap was in borrowing what amounted to recycled OPEC petrodollars invested in the major New York and London banks, the Eurodollar banks, which lent the dollars to desperate Third World borrowers initially at “floating rates” tied to London LIBOR rates.

When Libor rose some 300% within months as a result of the Volcker shock therapy, those debtor countries were unable to continue. The IMF was brought in and the greatest looting binge in world history, misnamed the Third World Debt Crisis, was on. Volcker’s shock policy, predictably, triggered the crisis.

After seven years of relentlessly high interest rates by the Volcker Fed, sold to the gullible public as “squeezing inflation out of the US economy,” by 1986 the internal state of the US economy was horrendous. Much of America came to resemble a Third World country, with its growing slums, double-digit unemployment and growing crime and drug addiction problems. A Federal Reserve study showed that 55% of all American families were net debtors. Federal budget deficits were running at then-unheard-of levels of more than $200 billion annually.

In reality, Volcker, a personal protégé of David Rockefeller from Rockefeller’s Chase Manhattan Bank, had been sent to Washington to do one thing—save the dollar from a free fall collapse that threatened the role of the US dollar as global reserve currency.

That dollar reserve currency role was the hidden key to American financial power.

By letting US interest rates go through the roof, foreign investors flooded in to reap the gains by buying US bonds. Bonds were and are the heart of the financial system. Volcker’s shock therapy for the economy meant soaring profits for the New York financial community.

Volcker succeeded only too well in his mission.

The dollar rose to all-time highs against the currencies of Germany, Japan, Canada and other countries from 1979 through the end of 1985. The over-valued US dollar made US manufactured exports prohibitively expensive on world markets and led to a dramatic decline in US industrial exports.

Already high interest rates from the Volcker Fed since October 1979 had led to a major decline in domestic construction, the ultimate ruin of the US automobile industry and with it, steel, as American manufacturers moved to outsource production offshore where the cost advantages were greater. Referring to Paul Volcker and his free-market backers inside the Reagan White House, Republican Robert O. Andersen, then chairman of Atlantic Richfield Oil Co. complained, “they’ve done more to dismantle American industry than any other group in history. And yet they go around saying everything is great. It’s like the Wizard of Oz.” 9

By early 1987 the nation’s traditional mortgage banks, the Savings & Loan banks, were in a liquidity crisis that was to ultimately cost US Taxpayers hundreds of billions in government bailouts. The Congress’ GAO watchdog agency declared that the Federal Savings & Loan Insurance Corporation, the guarantor against S&L bank panic, was insolvent. Yet under pressure from the S&Ls, huge bank losses were allowed to build as insolvent institutions were allowed to remain open and grow, allowing ever increasing losses to accumulate. The ultimate cost of the 1980’s S&L debacle came to more than $160 billion. Some calculated real costs to the economy ran as high as $900 billion. Between 1986 and 1991, the number of new homes constructed dropped from 1.8 to 1 million, the lowest rate since World War II.

America’s Second Revolution: the eyes on the Prize

Federal Reserve monetary policy has been typically misrepresented as a series of ad hoc pragmatic responses to recurring crises in post-war banking and finance. The reality is that it has faithfully followed a coherent hidden thread of policy that was first laid out in 1973 by the spokesman then for America’s most powerful establishment family.

The policy was outlined in a little-noted book titled, ominously enough, “The Second American Revolution.” It was written by John D. Rockefeller III, scion of the powerful Standard Oil and Chase Manhattan Bank empire, and, along with his three brothers—David, Nelson and Laurance—architect of the world arrangement after 1945 known as the American Century.

In his book, Rockefeller declared the establishment’s determination to roll back concessions grudgingly granted by the wealthy and powerful during the Great Depression. Rockefeller issued the call in 1973, long before Jimmy Carter or Margaret Thatcher came to office to implement it. He called for a “deliberate, consistent, long-term policy to decentralize and privatize many government functions…to diffuse power throughout the society.” 10 The latter was a witting deception as his intent was not to diffuse power, but just the opposite—to concentrate that economic and banking power into the hands of a tight-knit elite.

Privatization of essential and socially useful government functions that had been established often with great social agitation and political pressure during the difficult crises of the 1930’s, was the Rockefeller agenda. In brief, it was the removal of Depression era government regulations on all aspects of economic and social life in America.

Above all, deregulation of Wall Street and financial markets was the goal, along with a radical reduction in the equalizing of wealth, as seen by Rockefeller and friends, inherent in such programs as Social Security. The George W. Bush “tax cuts for the wealthy” were just a continuation of a three decade agenda of the powerful establishment circles.

Hard as it may be to believe, all major US policy from the 1970’s through the misnamed sub-prime crisis today, had a connecting continuous thread. Key Fed and Treasury and other US policymakers always held their “eyes on the Prize.”

The “Prize” was untold financial gains to be won through a rollback of major concessions to the working blue collar and middle income Americans, concessions granted during the Great Depression by powerful establishment circles led by the Rockefeller and Morgan banking groups, to forestall a more radical revolt.

Social Security was one target for rollback. Financial deregulation and above all repeal of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act, was another. Here a well-connected Wall Street banker named Alan Greenspan was to play the decisive role on behalf of the financial deregulation agenda in his tenure as Federal Reserve Chairman lasting from 1987 through 2006. Securitization of sub-prime or junk mortgages was to have been his crowning legacy. As it looks at this writing, it certainly will be, though perhaps not as he and others in Wall Street intended. It will more likely be a crown of disgrace.

Gary Duncan

A full-blown, prolonged recession in America is now inescapable, with the rest of the world set to be dragged into a severe global slowdown despite yesterday’s emergency US interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve, leading economists said in Davos this morning.

A darkening outlook for the global economy looked set to dominate the week-long World Economic Forum, as plunging stock markets and the Fed’s drastic and dramatic reaction overshadowed the opening of the annual gathering of political and business leaders.

Some of the world’s most prominent economic pundits told an opening session this morning that the Fed’s surprise three-quarter-point cut in US official interest rates was already “too little, too late” to stave off recession in America.

In a bleak discussion of prospects, the economists predicted that Britain, Europe and much of Asia also now face a sharp and unavoidable downturn in their economies, even if they escaped recession.

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The Fed itself also came under heavy fire, along with other central banks.

Top policy-makers, including Larry Summers, the former US Treasury Secretary, joined economic experts in delivering a series of broadsides against the Fed.

A series of experts said that the US central bank not only had been “behind the curve” and “asleep at the switch”, but had failed to take necessary, pre-emptive action to curb the emergence of the financial instabilities that triggered the present crisis.

They said that the Fed appeared to have given stock markets an unjustified bailout this week.

Others, including John Snow, Mr Summers’s Republican successor, defended the Fed’s strategy, however, and applauded yesterday’s aggressive rate move.

The ominous assessments of the likely economic fate of the United States this year were led by Nouriel Roubini, the influential economic consultant.

“It’s not whether we have a soft landing or a hard landing in the US, but rather how hard a landing it is going to be,” he said.

“The recession is going to be deeper and lasting ... at least four quarters … It’s going to be a severe recession.”

Professor Roubini said that the Fed’s steep rate cut this week was “too little, too late” to stop a consumer-led slump in the US economy because American consumers were “shopped out”, laden down with heavy debts, and the financial system was under “severe stress”.

He said: “The Fed cannot prevent this recession from occurring.”

His bleak prognosis was echoed by Stephen Roach, the former chief economist at Morgan Stanley and now the investment bank’s chairman in Asia.

He agreed that with American households under financial pressure from debt burdens that were at record highs and the housing market slump, the US economy faced a sharp retreat by shoppers from the country’s Main Street shops and malls.

Mr Roach highlighted how Americans have been spending the equivalent each year of 72 per cent of US national income, far above the 67 per cent average over recent decades.

He gave warning that if spending patterns now fell back to historic levels in a year “it would be the mother of all recessions”.

It was likely that consumer spending would fall back in this way, although over several years, and this was a necessary adjustment from behaviour that had been unsustainable, he said:

“We have used the overvalued home like an ATM [cash] machine, and in doing that we have taken debt loads up to record highs," he said.

"None of that is sustainable. So we have got to take the excess out of consumption.”

He added that the problem was that Americans were saying, “We do not want to stop excessive consumption”, while the rest of the world was saying, “We want you to keep consuming to excess so that we can sell you things you do not need.”

“What kind of a world is this?” he asked.

Both Mr Roach and Profession Roubini said that Europe, Asia or emerging markets could escape fallout from a US recession.

“Europe is not going to get a special dispensation from the global slowdown,” Mr Roach told delegates.

He added that India and China were “not yet at the stage where they can fill the void that is going to be left by the American consumer”.

He said: “I think it is going to be a close call but think we will not actually move into global recession.”

In a poll here, Davos delegates voted a US recession the No 1 threat facing the world. But not all the leading economists present saw a worldwide downturn as inevitable.

Fred Bergsten, director of the well-regarded Washington-based Peterson Institute for International Economics, said: "I believe the world economy has in fact largely decoupled from the US … That means things are much too bleak and pessimistic around here in terms of the outlook.

"My conclusion is that a global recession if inconceivable.”

The Fed’s rate cut this week left delegates sharply divided over the wisdom of its action, and its broader record in running the US economy.

Mr Snow said: “Have the Fed and other central banks been asleep at the switch? No. The issue of whether the central banks are capable of vigorous action, bold action was answered yesterday.”

He said that the Fed’s move should ensure any recession was “short and shallow”.

His predecessor, Mr Summers, gave a damning view.

He said that it was “hard to give a high grade” to the Fed over its recent policy “when they have been consistently behind the curve”.
Jeffrey Steinberg

In November 1940, the Coordinator of Information (COI), the predecessor to the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS), prepared a classified report titled "Synarchie and the policy of the Banque Worms group." The three-page confidential document began, "In recent reports, there have been several references to the growing political power of the Banque Worms group in France, which includes amongst its members such ardent [Nazi] collaborationists as Pucheu, Benoist-Mechin, Leroy-Ladurie, Bouthillier, and representatives of the big French industrial organizations." The report continued, "The reactionary movement known as 'Synarchie' has been in existence in France for nearly a century. Its aim has always been to carry out a bloodless revolution, inspired by the upper classes, aimed at producing a form of government by 'technicians' (the founder of the movement was a 'polytechnician'), under which home and foreign policy would be subordinated to international economy. The aims of the Banque Worms group are the same as those of 'Synarchie,' and the leaders of the two groups are, in most cases, identical."

The COI report then went on to detail the political agenda of the international Synarchy, as of August 1940:

"(a) to check the 'Revolution Nationale' insofar as its development might entail the creation of a new social order [At the time, France was under the "social order" of the Nazis, following the Spring 1940 invasion and occupation—ed.];

"(b) to check any new social schemes which might tend to weaken the power of the international financiers and industrialists;

"© to work for the ultimate complete control of all industry by international finance and industry;

"(d) to protect Jewish and Anglo-Saxon interests."

The document went on to note that there is sympathy for this Synarchist scheme among some key Nazi circles in Germany including "both Goering and Dr. Funk [Walther Funk, who was Nazi Minister of Economics, president of the Reichsbank, and Nazi Germany's representative on the Bank for International Settlements, following Hjalmar Schacht—ed.]... It is alleged that certain industrial circles in Great Britain are also in sympathy with the movement. Some headway is claimed to have been made in securing the adhesion of big U.S. industry to the movement."

The document also identified Synarchist plans towards Great Britain: "To bring about the fall of the Churchill government by creating the belief in the country that a more energetic government is needed to prosecute the war ... and to bring about the formation of a new Government including Sir Samuel Hoare, Lord Beaverbrook and Mr. Hore-Belisha. (Note. The source has added that in the Worms group it is believed that those circles in Great Britain who are favorably disposed to their plans, are most critical of Mr. Churchill, Lord Halifax and Captain Margesson.); and through the medium of Sir Samuel Hoare to bring about an agreeement between British industry and the Franco-German 'bloc;' and to protect Anglo-Saxon interests on the continent."

The document concluded, "In regard to Germany, it is hoped ultimately to eliminate Hitler, Goebbels, and Himmler with his Gestapo, from the political scene, thus facilitating the formation of an Anglo-Franco-German economic bloc."

Another insightful snapshot of the trans-Atlantic Synarchist banking apparatus on the eve of World War II appeared, ironically, in Time magazine on July 3, 1939, under the headline, "Insider from Overseas." The article reported on the arrival in New York City of German banker Otto Jeidels, who was named a partner in the New York City branch of Lazard Frères & Co. According to Time : "Lazard Brothers & Co. of London is Aryan and aristocratic, a member of the Bank of England coterie, helps back the appeasment movement in London, favors the theory that concessions to Hitler will bring Dr. Schacht and his orthodox economics back to Berlin. It has a highly lucrative and increasingly important sideline in helping frightened European capitalists put their money into good safe American dollars. On the receiving end of this flood of gold from Europe is Lazard Freres of Manhattan, not entirely Aryan, not a Wall Street insider, still correspondent (but no longer a partner) of the highly political London and Paris Lazard banks. Lazard's of Manhattan underwrites securities and above all, does a big business in foreign exchange. Invaluable to this clearing house of new bullion and foreign capital will be Jeidels, who is a friend of Montagu Norman, has access to choice continental pipelines into Hitlerland.... In Germany there is a cynical saying that Schacht has managed to doublecross all save two of his intimates: one of the two is Hitler, the other is Jeidels. Schacht gave Jeidels the high sign in time for him to leave Germany with his family before the great pogrom of 1938 began.... Schacht was able to protect Jeidels because his contact with British Bank Boss Montagu Norman was useful to Hitler.... Until the spring of 1938, Jeidels functioned perfectly, as much of an insider as Hitler could let any Jewish banker be. He satisfied the British by keeping the debts unrepudiated, the Nazis by keeping them frozen, served as middleman between the Nazis and the British."

These two reports, one, a classified wartime U.S. intelligence dossier, and the other, a widely circulated news magazine story, represented two exemplary pieces from a voluminous archive of documents—public and classified—from the 1930-45 period, that detailed the role of the international banking and industrial cartel, known then—and still, today—as "the Synarchist International."

Wartime OSS Research and Analysis Branch Director William Langer detailed the role of the Synarchy in Vichy France in his 1947 book Our Vichy Gamble . Three years later, James Stewart Martin, a U.S. Justice Department Anti-Trust Division lawyer, who, from 1944-47, headed the de-cartelization unit of the U.S. occupation government in Germany, published his own stunning exposé of the same international Synarchist cartel in his 1950 book, All Honorable Men .

These and other contemporaneous accounts, reflected a deep understanding, within the FDR-led U.S. governing institutions of the time, that a top-down international financial oligarchy had been the chief sponsors of the Nazi and Fascist regimes that brought war and devastation to the Eurasian continent, in a failed effort to create a post-Westphalian world without sovereign nation-states, run by an international bankers dictatorship. But for Franklin Roosevelt's mobilization of the moral and industrial might of the United States, these Synarchists may very well have succeeded in bringing the planet to the abyss of a new Dark Age.

Then and Now

These penetrating wartime intelligence assessments of global Synarchy are of the greatest relevance today. In effect, the COI/OSS and related evaluations of the situation on the European continent were that an Anglo-Saxon and Franco-German cartel of international financiers and industrialists, who comprised a powerful faction financing and controlling the Nazi/Fascist axis, was steering European governments, through agents with little or no loyalty to their nations, but the greatest loyalty to the international Synarchy. As Langer quoted U.S. Ambassador Nicholas Biddle from London, "This group should be regarded not as Frenchmen, any more than their corresponding members in Germany should be regarded as Germans, for the interests of both groups are so intermingled as to be indistinguishable; their whole interest is focussed upon furtherance of their industrial and financial stakes."

It was this combination of international bankers, then, who had financed Mussolini and then Hitler, and had steered Eurasia on a path of war and near self-annihilation, in order to secure their own dominance over global economic and financial affairs, no matter what the outcome of the war.

This apparatus was aligned, in the United States, with the very JP Morgan and DuPont interests that had been foiled in their several coup d'état attempts against President Roosevelt. The more extended network of FDR enemies included the Brown Brothers Harriman interests—including Prescott Bush, Sr., the grandfather of the current President of the United States—that had openly bankrolled the Nazi Party, and the Dillon Reed and Sullivan and Cromwell Wall Street axis that had structured the international steel, coal, and petroleum cartels, which included such key Nazi institutions as IG Farben, the Keppler Circle, and the Cologne Stein Bank of Algemeine SS financier Kurt von Schröder. The head of Dillon Reed during the interwar period, William Draper, became chief of the economic division of the postwar U.S. occupation government in Germany, and crushed James Stewart Martin's effort, promoting Martin's resignation and his writing of All Honorable Men . As Martin discovered, the intention of the Synarchists was to assure the survival and prosperity of their cartel no matter what the outcome of the war.

Upon the death of Franklin Roosevelt, in April 1945, the Synachist vise-grip on the White House was soon, albeit temporarily, established, with the swearing in of Harry S Truman as President, and Truman's 1946 embrace of Winston Churchill's "Iron Curtain" declaration of war against FDR's wartime ally, the Soviet Union. By 1948, most of the French and German financiers at the heart of the wartime Synarchy were freed from jail, acquitted from charges of treason. The Banque Worms group emerged among the principal French financiers and stalwarts of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, the post-war cultural warfare front at the heart of the trans-Atlantic "Red scare." Hjalmar Schacht, himself, acquitted at Nuremberg, resumed his role as a leading financial "wizard." André Meyer, the Paris Lazard banker who relocated to Manhattan's Lazard Brothers a year after Jeidels' arrival in New York, perpetuated the London-Paris-New York Synarchy, and soon designated Felix Rohatyn as his hand-picked successor, whom he considered "as my son." Thus, the Synarchy has maintained a continuity through to the present day. Through individuals like Felix Rohatyn and George Pratt Shultz, the Synarchy has penetrated both of the major U.S. political parties, and through this penetration, has planted Synarchist agents, witting and unwitting, into the pores of the Federal government, from the Oval Office to the halls of Congress, to the courts, and virtually every Cabinet agency.

The neo-conservative movement, with its roots in the philosophical tradition of Leo Strauss, Alexandre Kojève, and Carl Schmitt, is one major spore of the present-day Synarchist International. But in some respects, the case of George Shultz provides the most clinical profile of the Synarchy in action today.

The Economic Hit Men

In 2004, a book was published by Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., which caused a significant stir. John Perkins' Confessions of an Economic Hit Man provided a first-hand account of the role of the present-day international cartel of banks and multinational corporations, which work in concert to loot the developing sector of its strategic raw-materials wealth and other national patrimony. The principal strategy employed by the Economic Hit Men (EHM), according to Perkins' first-hand account, was to build up massive debt by developing-sector governments, to trap them in a straitjacket of World Bank and IMF diktats, while multinational corporations such as Bechtel and Halliburton loot them blind, under the guise of "development."

Perkins identified George Shultz, former Bechtel president, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, and Secretary of State, as the reigning Economic Hit Man—the Capo dei Tutti Capi of the very Synarchist apparatus that earlier brought the world to the brink of self-annihilation from 1922-45.

Whether or not Perkins was 100% accurate about Shultz's formal title as the reigning boss of the EHM, Shultz definitely represents the embodiment of the Synarchy. Shultz's ultimate allegiances are suggested by his close relationship to Jacob Rothschild of Great Britain, to whom he, along with Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett, delivered the California gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger, for inspection and approval. Shultz is also one of the leading proponents in the United States of the radical free-trade dogmas of the Synarchists' Mont Pelerin Society. His University of Chicago mentor, W. Allen Wallis, was the founding treasurer of Mont Pelerin. Shultz is still a director of the Bechtel Group, chairman of the JP Morgan Chase International Council, a director of the Fremont Group and Accenture Energy, a company involved in mega-mergers and acquisitions in the oil and gas sector, with close ties to Anglo-American Corp.

Today, Shultz is not only the "godfather" of the Bush-Cheney Administration, having hand-picked the Vulcans, the team of initial George W. Bush tutors and Executive Branch moles, responsible for the Iraq War disaster. He, along with R. James Woolsey, revived the Committee on the Present Danger, to promote a post-Westphalia world of preventive wars, suited to the fulfillment of the Synarchist agenda. In partnership with Felix Rohatyn, Shultz has promoted the privatization of war, through the proliferation of Private Military Corporations (PMCs), which, they openly boasted at an October 2004 Middlebury College conference, represented a return to the "neo-feudal" system, represented by the 18th- and 19th-Century British East India Company.

Shultz and Rohatyn typify the mid-level Synarchist operative, who works within and around government institutions, on behalf of a thoroughly alien agenda and ideology. Their allegiances are to the Anglo-Dutch/Venetian system of usury, globalization, population reduction, and slavery.

December 1971

George Shultz was Labor Secretary, head of the Office of Management and Budget, and Treasury Secretary under President Richard Nixon. He personally pulled the plug on the Bretton Woods system of FDR. When Lyndon LaRouche labelled the dumping of Bretton Woods as the beginning of a descent into a fascist Hell, he was branded a "potential danger" to the newly launched global tyranny. In a December 1971 debate at Queens College in New York City, the last such event in which he would ever be invited to participate, LaRouche induced his opponent, Prof. Abba Lerner, to unmask himself as a proponent of Schachtian economics. Confronted by LaRouche with the evidence of the lawful consequences of ending the system of global fixed exchange rates, and opening the world's currencies to speculative manipulation, Lerner had blurted out, "If they had listened to Schacht, we wouldn't have needed Hitler."

If there is a phrase that best describes the current Synarchist agenda being promoted by the likes of Shultz and Rohatyn, it is: "Schacht without Hitler." And if anyone thinks that this is an improvement on the earlier experience with Nazism and Fascism, they are about to experience a rude awakening, if Synarchy is not stopped.


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First Generation

Bertrand Russell

H.G. Wells

Huxley Family

Aleister Crowley

Second Generation

John Train

Felix Rohatyn

George Shultz

Sir Rupert Murdoch

Third Generation of British Tools 


Al Gordo

Michael Bloomberg

Dick Cheney

More To Come...

Daniel Taylor

Old Thinker News

As the United States faces an economic crisis that is being compared by experts to the 1929 Great Depression, the global elite are proclaiming the fall of the U.S and the rise of a new global order.

The IOL reports that the recent meeting in Davos, Switzerland, which focused in part on the global economic meltdown, pointed to "global" solutions and the need for a strengthened United Nations in the face of world crises.

Sovereignty, according to many who attended, must be weakened. The IOL reports,

For Gareth Evans, former Australian foreign minister and now president of the International Crisis Group, even those countries with a deep resistance to intervention were starting to recognise that egregious crimes against humanity could not go unchallenged.

"There is now the beginning of a global consensus that sovereignty doesn't mean a license to kill, doesn't mean a license to stand back and allow killing of that order to take place," Evans said.

"This is a very real phenomenon, that sovereignty is not what it was and can't be what it was," he added.

Writing in the evening standard, Anthony Hilton states regarding the Davos meeting,

"World leaders have a similar problem in Davos as they try to think through the turmoil in world markets to focus on what is really happening to the global economy.

Henry Kissinger picked up on the political implications. The challenge to the world, he said, was handling the structural changes taking place - the transfer of economic power from America to the Pacific, the shortages of water and energy and the threat of climate change, which require global not national solutions."

A strengthened United Nations, also discussed at Davos, was promoted by Prime Minister Gordon Brown earlier this week after secret talks with world leaders. Brown called for a "new world order" and a "global society". As the New Zealand Hearld reported,

"British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has begun secret talks with other world leaders on far-reaching reform of the United Nations Security Council as part of a drive to create a "new world order" and "global society"."

The economic crises that the world is plunging into is being and will be used as the pretext to forge the new global order long sought after by the global elite. More centralized control will emerge. "New" solutions will be presented in slick packages to a despairing population begging for order.

New York University honoured Alan Greenspan in 2005, but others blame him for the debt bubble.


Carlito Pablo

An American credit bubble that was propped up by former U.S. Federal Reserve chair Alan Greenspan has burst. This, according to Vancouver-based investment adviser Ian Gordon, is the underlying cause behind the turmoil that has sent global stock markets—including Canada’s—on a wild ride this month.

Gordon, a student of the wave theory developed by early 20th-century Russian economist Nikolai Kondratieff, also believes that the market turmoil is capitalism’s method of purging itself of debts.

“We’re really seeing a mirror image of what happened following the [19]29 peak in equity prices in the United States, and the subsequent crash in equities,” Gordon told the Georgia Straight. “We’re seeing really the mirror of…the huge debt bubble that was built into the economy in the ’20s in the United States. We’re now seeing the collapse of the debt bubble that was built into the world economies, but principally in the United States.”

Kondratieff held that capitalist systems move through stages in a seasonlike pattern of spring, summer, fall, and winter. It’s a grow-boom-bust cycle that plays itself out in periods lasting 50 to 60 years.

Gordon argues that the realistic peak of the American stock market occurred in 2000. But when U.S. indices started to fall, he claimed, Greenspan simply delayed the onset of the inevitable Kondratieff winter.

“Greenspan panicked, injected a tremendous amount of money into the economy through the banks [and] dropped the loan rate to one percent,” Gordon said. “That effectively reignited the stock market and also caused, more importantly…a tremendous bubble in real estate in the United States.”

October 29, 1929: Black Tuesday stock-market crash

> Canadian stocks lost an estimated total value of $5 billion on paper in 1929.

> By mid 1930, stocks for the top 50 Canadian companies had fallen by more than 50 percent in value from their peaks in 1929.

> Despite the collapse, banks, mines, manufacturers, and construction firms in Canada reported profits at the end of 1929.

> Canada had no central bank or monetary policy, so there was little government intervention at the time of crash.

> In the U.S., the government was blamed for not controlling speculation.

> The crash began a chain of events that plunged Canada and the West into the decade-long Great Depression.

> The Depression ended only with the outbreak of the Second World War.


Greenspan, who will speak in Vancouver on Thursday (January 24), wrote in his 2007 memoir The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World (Penguin Press) that economists have been worried about the high ratio of U.S. household debt to income, which is such that the average American family was on the brink of default.

However, Greenspan dismissed such concerns. “Such fears ignore a fundamental fact of modern life: in a market economy, rising debt goes hand in hand with progress,” he wrote. “To put it more formally, debt will always rise relative to incomes so long as we have an ever-increasing division of labor and specialization of tasks, increasing productivity, and a consequent rise in both assets and liabilities as a percentage of income.”

The U.S. central bank may still have been drawing inspiration from its former chair when it announced a three-quarters-of-a-percentage-point slash to interest rates on January 22 to calm the markets. Still, American stocks continued to plummet on that day.

According to Gordon, the federal- funds rate cut will not necessarily translate into banks giving out more loans. “Neither [banks nor consumers] wants to engage,” he said. “The consumer because he can’t borrow any more…and the banks because they’re having real problems with the debt they’ve already loaned out.”

Gordon suggested that because Kondratieff seasons, or waves, last 15 years, the economic winter that set in during the early 2000s could last another seven or eight years. “As this whole collapse in paper assets begins to unfold, causing tremendous strain on the banking system, we will see a tremendous rush to gold, to own gold,” he said. “But I think the worst is definitely in front of us, and not behind us.”

Helmut Pastrick, chief economist at Credit Union Central of British Columbia, doesn’t subscribe to the Kondratieff wave theory, but he concedes that economies go through cycles.

“I do know that, yes, there are movements in markets and the economy, cycles, if you will,” Pastrick told the Straight. “Obviously, we’re in a down move now, and equity markets have been down. But I’d go back to say that what goes down will come back up.”

According to Pastrick, more negative financial news will likely come out in the near term, but he claimed that markets will begin to show signs of stabilization in three to six months.

The Bank of Canada also cut interest rates on January 22 in a bid to stimulate the economy. According to Stephen MacInnes, chief investment officer at Vancouver-based Inhance Investment Management Inc., Canadians will definitely see slow growth for this quarter and possibly the next. However, he suggested that the situation won’t deteriorate.

“The rampant pessimism is going to change, and people will probably say, ‘Yeah, the economy isn’t as bad as we thought,’ ” MacInnes told the Straight. “That’s what we look forward to.”

Prof. Claudia von Werlhof

Are there alternatives to plundering the earth, making war and destroying the planet

This text is based on a panel presentation together with Ferdinand Lacina, former Austrian Minister of Finance and Ewald Nowotny, President of the BAWAG-Bank during the “Dallinger Conference”, AK Wien, November 21, 2005.

Original German Title: “Alternativen zur neoliberalen Globalisierung, oder: Die Globalisierung des Neoliberalismus und seine Folgen, Wien, Picus 2007.

Claudia von-Werlhof is  prominent writer and academic, Professor of Women's Studies and Political Science at the University of Innsbruck, Austria.

(Translation: from the German by Gabriel Kuhn)


Is there an alternative to plundering the earth?

Is there an alternative to making war?

Is there an alternative to destroying the planet?

No one asks these questions because they seem absurd. Yet, no one can escape them either. They have to be asked. Ultimate absurdity has taken hold of our lives. We are not only headed towards the world’s annihilation – we are headed towards it with ever increasing speed. The reason is the “globalization” of so-called “neoliberalism”. Its motto is TINA: “There Is No Alternative!” It is the deal of deals, the big feast, the final battle – Armageddon.

Wrong? Exaggerated?

Let us first clarify what globalization and neoliberalism are, where they come from, who they are directed by, what they claim, what they do, why their effects are so fatal, why they will fail, and why people nonetheless cling to them. Then, let us look at the responses of those who are not – or will not – be able to live with the consequences they cause.

1. What Is “Neoliberal Globalization”?

1.1 TINA – Supposedly without Alternative

Before talking about the topic of this panel – alternatives to neoliberal globalization, or: the globalization of neoliberalism – one has to acknowledge that there is indeed a problem here. And not only that. One also has to define what the problem is exactly.

This is where the difficulties begin. For a good twenty years now we have been told that there is no alternative to neoliberal globalization/the globalization of neoliberalism, and that, in fact, no such alternative is needed either. Over and over again, we have been confronted with the TINA-concept: “There Is No Alternative!” The “iron lady”, Margaret Thatcher, was one of those who reiterated this belief without end – it is an embarrassment to women when one of their own displays such a politics of callousness once she has gained power.

The TINA-concept prohibits all thought. It follows the rationale that there is no point in analyzing and discussing neoliberalism and so-called globalization because they are inevitable. Whether we condone what is happening or not does not matter, it is happening anyway. There is no point in trying to understand. Hence: Go with it! Kill or be killed!

Some go as far as suggesting that neoliberalism and its globalization – meaning, a specific economic system that developed within specific socio-historical circumstances – is nothing less but a law of nature. In turn, “human nature” is supposedly reflected by the character of the system’s economic subjects: egotistical, ruthless, greedy and cold. This, we are told, works towards everyone’s benefit.

The question remains, of course, why Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” (which supposedly guides the economic process towards the common good, even if this remains imperceptible to the individual, Binswanger 1998) has become a “visible fist”? While a tiny minority reaps enormous benefits of today’s economic liberalism (none of which will remain, of course), the vast majority of the earth’s population, yes the earth itself, suffer hardship to an extent that puts their very survival at risk. The damage done seems irreversible.

All over the world media outlets – especially television stations – avoid addressing the problem. A common excuse is that it cannot be explained (Mies/Werlhof 2003, p. 23ff, 36ff). The true reason is, of course, the media’s corporate control. Neoliberalism means corporate politics.

Unfortunately, this still evades the public. In most Western countries – as, for example, in Austria – “neoliberalism” is not even commonly accepted as a term, and even “globalization” struggles to find recognition (Salmutter 1998, Dimmel/Schmee 2005). In the Austrian example, a curious provincialism reigns that pretends the country was somehow excluded from everything happening around it. If one listened to former chancellor Schüssel, it sounded like Austria knew no problems at all. The logic seems that if there is no term, there is no problem either. Unnamable, unspeakable, unthinkable: non-existing. Felix Austria.

Although Austria’s decision to join the European Union in 1995 bore the same consequences that neoliberalism bears everywhere, the connections remain ignored. This despite the fact that the European Union is – next to, and partly even ahead of, the US – the main driving force behind neoliberalism and its globalization. But let us take one step at a time...

1.2 What Does the “Neo” in Neoliberalism Stand for?

Neoliberalism as an economic politics began in Chile in 1973. Its inauguration consisted of a US-organized coup against a democratically elected socialist president and the installment of a bloody military dictatorship notorious for systematic torture. This was the only way to turn the neoliberal model of the so-called “Chicago Boys” under the leadership of Milton Friedman – a student of Austrian-born Friedrich von Hayek – into reality.

The predecessor of the neoliberal model is the economic liberalism of the 18th and 19th century and its notion of “free trade”. Goethe’s assessment at the time was: “Free trade, piracy, war – an inseparable three!” (Faust 2)

At the center of both old and new economic liberalism lies “self-interest and individualism; segregation of ethical principles and economic affairs, in other words: a process of ‘de-bedding’ economy from society; economic rationality as a mere cost-benefit calculation and profit maximization; competition as the essential driving force for growth and progress; specialization and the replacement of a subsistence economy with profit-oriented foreign trade (‘comparative cost advantage’); and the proscription of public (state) interference with market forces” (Mies 2005, p. 34).

Where the new economic liberalism outdoes the old is in its global claim. Today’s economic liberalism functions as a model for each and everyone, all parts of the economy, all sectors of society, yes, of life/nature itself. As a consequence, the once “de-bedded” economy now claims to “im-bed” everything, including political power. Furthermore, a new, twisted “economic ethics” (and with it a certain idea of “human nature”) emerges that mocks everything from so-called “do-gooders” to altruism to selfless help to care for others to a notion of responsibility (Gruen 1997).

This goes as far as claiming that the common good depends entirely on the uncontrolled egoism of the individual and, especially, on the prosperity of transnational corporations. The allegedly necessary “freedom” of the economy – which, paradoxically, only means the freedom of corporations – hence consists of a freedom from responsibility and commitment to society. In turn, the rational cost-benefit calculation aiming at maximized profit not only serves as a model for corporate production and the associated service industry and trade, but also for the public sector that has so far been exempted from such demands (in fact, it has historically been defined by this exemption). The same goes for the sector of reproduction, especially the household.

The maximization of profit itself must occur within the shortest possible time; this means, preferably, through speculation and “shareholder value”. It must meet as few obstacles as possible. Today, global economic interests outweigh not only extra-economic concerns but also national economic considerations since corporations today see themselves beyond both community and nation (Sassen 2000). A “level playing field” is created that offers the global players the best possible conditions. This playing field knows of no legal, social, ecological, cultural or national “barriers” (Mies/Werlhof 2003, p. 24). As a result, economic competition plays out on a market that is free of all non-market, extra-economic or “protectionist” influences – unless they serve the interests of the “big players” (the corporations), of course. The corporations’ interests – their maximal “growth” and “progress” – take on complete priority. This is rationalized by alleging that their well-being means the well-being of small enterprises and workshops as well.

The difference between the new and the old economic liberalism can first be articulated in quantitative terms: After capitalism went through a series of ruptures and challenges – caused by the “competition of systems”, the crisis of capitalism, post-war “Keynesianism” with its social and welfare state tendencies, internal mass consumer demand (so-called “Fordism”), and the objective of full employment in the North – the liberal economic goals of the past are now not only euphorically resurrected but they are also “globalized”. The main reason is indeed that the “competition of systems” is gone. However, to conclude that this confirms the victory of “capitalism” and the “golden West” over “dark socialism” is only one possible interpretation. Another – opposing – interpretation is to see the “modern world system” (which contains both capitalism and socialism, Wallerstein 1979, 2004) as having hit a general crisis which causes total and merciless competition over global resources while leveling the way for “investment” opportunities, i.e. the valorization of capital.

The ongoing globalization of neoliberalism demonstrates which interpretation is right. Not least, because the differences between the old and the new economic liberalism can not only be articulated in quantitative terms but in qualitative ones too. What we are witnessing are completely new phenomena: Instead of a democratic “complete competition” between many small enterprises enjoying the “freedom of the market”, only the big corporations win. In turn, they create new market oligopolies and monopolies of previously unknown dimensions. The market hence only remains free for them, while it is rendered “unfree” for all others who are condemned to an existence of dependency (as enforced producers, workers and consumers) or excluded from the market altogether (if they have neither anything to sell or buy). About 50% of the world’s population fall into this group today, and the percentage is rising (George 2001).

Anti-trust laws have lost all power since the transnational corporations set the norms. It is the corporations – not “the market” as an anonymous mechanism or “invisible hand” – that determine today’s rules of trade, for example prices and legal regulations. This happens outside any political control. Speculation with an average 20% profit margin (Altvater 2005) edges out honest producers who become “unprofitable”. Money becomes too precious for comparatively non-profitable, long-term projects, or projects that “only” – how audacious! – serve a good life. Money instead “travels upwards” and disappears. Financial capital determines more and more what the markets are and do (Altvater/Mahnkopf 1996). In fact, it has by now – through Nixon’s separation of the dollar from the gold standard in 1971 – “emancipated” from productive capital und forms its own “fiscal bubble” multiplying the money volume that is covered by the production of the many (Lietaer 2006, Kennedy 1990). Moreover, these days most of us are – exactly like all governments – in debt. It is financial capital that has all the money – we have none (Creutz 1995).

The consequences of neoliberalism are:

Small, medium, even some bigger enterprises are pushed out of the market, forced to fold or swallowed by transnational corporations because their performances are “below average” in comparison to speculation – rather: spookulation – wins. The public sector, which has historically been defined as a sector of not-for-profit economy and administration, is “slimmed” and its “profitable” parts (“gems”) handed to corporations (“privatized”). As a consequence, social services that are necessary for our existence disappear. Small and medium private businesses – which, until recently, employed 80% of the workforce and provided “normal working conditions” – are affected by these developments as well. The alleged correlation between economic growth and secure employment is false. Where economic growth only means the fusion of businesses, jobs are lost (Mies/Werlhof 2003, p. 7ff);

If there are any new jobs, most are “precarious”, meaning that they are only available temporarily and badly paid. One job is usually not enough to make a living (Ehrenreich 2001). This means that the working conditions in the North become akin to those in the South and the working conditions of men akin to those of women – a trend diametrically opposed to what we have always been told. Corporations now leave for the South (or East) to use cheap – and particularly female – labor without “union affiliation”. This has already been happening since the 1970s in the “Free Production Zones” (FPZs, “world market factories” or “maquiladoras”), where most of the world’s computer chips, sneakers, clothes and electronic goods are produced (Fröbel/Heinrichs/Kreye 1977). The FPZs lie in areas where century-old colonial-capitalist and authoritarian-patriarchal conditions guarantee the availability of the cheap labor needed (Bennholdt-Thomsen/Mies/Werlhof 1988). The recent shift of business opportunities from consumer goods to armaments is a particularly troubling development (Chossudovsky 2003).

It is not only commodity production that is “outsourced” and located in the FPZs, but service industries as well. This is a result of the so-called “Third Industrial Revolution”, meaning the development of new information and communication technologies. Many jobs have disappeared entirely due to computerization, also in administrative fields (Fröbel et al. 1977). The combination of the principles of “high tech” and “low wage”/“no wage” (always denied by “progress” enthusiasts) guarantees a “comparative cost advantage” in foreign trade. This will eventually lead to “Chinese salaries” in the West. A potential loss of Western consumers is not seen as a threat. A corporate economy does not care whether consumers are European, Chinese or Indian.

The means of production become concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, especially since finance capital – rendered precarious itself – controls asset value ever more aggressively. New forms of private property are created, not least through the “clearance” of public property and the transformation of formerly public and small-scale private services and industries to a corporate business sector. This concerns primarily fields that have long been (at least partly) excluded from the logics of profit – e.g. education, health, energy, or water supply/disposal. New forms of so-called “enclosures” emerge from today’s total commercialization of formerly small-scale private or public industries and services, of the “commons”, and of natural resources like oceans, rain forests, regions of genetic diversity or geopolitical interest (e.g. potential pipeline routes), etc. (Isla 2005). As far as the new virtual spaces and communication networks go, we are witnessing frantic efforts to bring these under private control as well (Hepburn 2005).

All these new forms of private property are essentially created by (more or less) predatory forms of appropriation. In this sense, they are a modified continuation of the history of so-called “original accumulation” (Werlhof 1991, 2003a) which has expanded globally following to the motto: “Growth through expropriation!”

Most people have less and less access to the means of production, and so the dependence on scarce and underpaid work increases. The destruction of the welfare state also destroys the notion that individuals can rely on the community to provide for them in times of need. Our existence relies exclusively on private, i.e. expensive, services that are often of much worse quality and much less reliable than public services. (It is a myth that the private always outdoes the public.) What we are experiencing is undersupply formerly only known by the colonial South. The old claim that the South will eventually develop into the North is proven wrong. It is the North that increasingly develops into the South. We are witnessing the latest form of “development”: namely, a world system of underdevelopment (Frank 1969). Development and underdevelopment go hand in hand (Mies 2005). This might even dawn on “development aid” workers soon.

It is usually women who are called upon to counterbalance underdevelopment through increased work (“service provisions”) in the household. As a result, the workload and underpay of women takes on horrendous dimensions: they do unpaid work inside their homes and poorly paid “housewifized” work outside (Bennholdt-Thomsen et al. 1988). Yet, commercialization does not stop in front of the home’s doors either. Even housework becomes commercially co-opted (“new maid question”), with hardly any financial benefits for the women who do the work (Werlhof 2004).

Not least because of this, women are increasingly coerced into prostitution (Isla 2003, 2005), one of today’s biggest global industries. This illustrates two things: a) how little the “emancipation” of women actually leads to “equal terms” with men; and b) that “capitalist development” does not imply increased “freedom” in wage labor relations, as the Left has claimed for a long time (Wallerstein 1979). If the latter was the case, then neoliberalism would mean the voluntary end of capitalism once it reaches its furthest extension. This, however, does not appear likely.

Today, hundreds of millions of quasi-slaves, more than ever before, exist in the “world system” (Bales 2001). The authoritarian model of the “Free Production Zones” is conquering the East and threatening the North. The redistribution of wealth runs ever more – and with ever accelerated speed – from the bottom to the top. The gap between the rich and the poor has never been wider. The middle classes disappear. This is the situation we are facing.

It becomes obvious that neoliberalism marks not the end of colonialism but, to the contrary, the colonization of the North. This new “colonization of the world” (Mies 2005) points back to the beginnings of the “modern world system” in the “long 16th century” (Wallerstein 1979, Frank 2005, Mies 1986), when the conquering of the Americas, their exploitation and colonial transformation allowed for the rise and “development” of Europe. The so-called “children’s diseases” of modernity keep on haunting it, even in old age. They are, in fact, the main feature of modernity’s latest stage. They are expanding instead of disappearing.

Where there is no South, there is no North; where there is no periphery, there is no center; where there is no colony, there is no – in any case no “Western” – civilization (Werlhof 2007a).

Austria is part of the world system too. It is increasingly becoming a corporate colony (particularly of German corporations). This, however, does not keep it from being an active colonizer itself, especially in the East (Hofbauer 2003, Salzburger 2006).

Social, cultural, traditional and ecological considerations are abandoned and give way to a mentality of plundering. All global resources that we still have – natural resources, forests, water, genetic pools – have turned into objects of “utilization”. Rapid ecological destruction through depletion is the consequence. If one makes more profit by cutting down trees than by planting them, then there is no reason not to cut them (Lietaer 2006). Neither the public nor the state interferes, despite global warming and the obvious fact that the clearing of the few remaining rain forests will irreversibly destroy the earth’s climate – not to even speak of the many other negative effects of such action (Raggam 2004). Climate, animal, plants, human and general ecological rights are worth nothing compared to the interests of the corporations – no matter that the rain forest is no renewable resource and that the entire earth’s ecosystem depends on it. If greed – and the rationalism with which it is economically enforced – really was an inherent anthropological trait, we would have never even reached this day.

The commander of the Space Shuttle that circled the earth in 2005 remarked that “the center of Africa was burning”. She meant the Congo, in which the last great rain forest of the continent is located. Without it there will be no more rain clouds above the sources of the Nile. However, it needs to disappear in order for corporations to gain free access to the Congo’s natural resources that are the reason for the wars that plague the region today. After all, one needs petrol, diamonds, and coltan for mobile phones.

The forests of Asia have been burning for many years too, and in late 2005 the Brazilian parliament has approved the clearing of 50% of the remaining Amazon. Meanwhile, rumors abound that Brazil and Venezuela have already sold their rights to the earth’s biggest remaining rain forest – not to the US-Americans, but to the supposedly “left” Chinese who suffer from chronic wood shortage and cannot sustain their enormous economic growth and economic superpower ambitions without securing global resources.

Given today’s race for the earth’s last resources, one wonders what the representatives of the World Trade Organization (WTO) thought when they accepted China as a new member in 2001. They probably had the giant Chinese market in mind but not the giant Chinese competition. After all, a quarter of the world’s population lives in China. Of course it has long been established that a further expansion of the Western lifestyle will lead to global ecological collapse – the faster, the sooner (Sarkar 2001).

Today, everything on earth is turned into commodities, i.e. everything becomes an object of “trade” and commercialization (which truly means “liquidation”: the transformation of all into liquid money). In its neoliberal stage it is not enough for capitalism to globally pursue less cost-intensive and preferably “wageless” commodity production. The objective is to transform everyone and everything into commodities (Wallerstein 1979), including life itself. We are racing blindly towards the violent and absolute conclusion of this “mode of production”, namely total capitalization/liquidation by “monetarization” (Genth 2006).

We are not only witnessing perpetual praise of the market – we are witnessing what can be described as “market fundamentalism”. People believe in the market as if it was a god. There seems to be a sense that nothing could ever happen without it. Total global maximized accumulation of money/capital as abstract wealth becomes the sole purpose of economic activity. A “free” world market for everything has to be established – a world market that functions according to the interests of the corporations and capitalist money. The installment of such a market proceeds with dazzling speed. It creates new profit possibilities where they have not existed before, e.g. in Iraq, Eastern Europe or China.

One thing remains generally overlooked: The abstract wealth created for accumulation implies the destruction of nature as concrete wealth. The result is a “hole in the ground” (Galtung), and next to it a garbage dump with used commodities, outdated machinery, and money without value. However, once all concrete wealth (which today consists mainly of the last natural resources) will be gone, abstract wealth will disappear as well. It will, in Marx’ words, “evaporate”. The fact that abstract wealth is not real wealth will become obvious, and so will the answer to the question which wealth modern economic activity has really created. In the end it is nothing but monetary wealth (and even this mainly exists virtually or on accounts) that constitutes a “monoculture” controlled by a tiny minority. Diversity is suffocated and millions of people are left wondering how to survive. And really: how do you survive with neither resources nor means of production nor money?

The nihilism of our economic system is evident. The whole world will be transformed into money – and then it will “disappear”. After all, money cannot be eaten. What no one seems to consider is the fact that it is impossible to re-transform commodities, money, capital and machinery into nature or concrete wealth. It seems that underlying all economic “development” is the assumption that “resources”, the “sources of wealth” (Marx), are renewable and everlasting – just like the “growth” they create (Werlhof 2001 a). The treachery of this assumption becomes harder and harder to deny. For example, the “peak” in oil production has just been passed – meaning we are beyond exploiting 50% of all there is.

Ironically though, it seems like the prospect of some resources coming to an end only accelerates the economic race. Everything natural is commercialized in dimensions not seen before, with unprecedented speed and by means of ever more advanced technology. The ultimate goal remains to create new possibilities of investment and profit, in other words: new possibilities of growth able to create new accumulation possibilities – future ones included. The material limits of such a politics become clearer day by day: the global ecological, economic, monetary, social, and political collapse (Diamond 2005) it inevitably leads to has already begun. “Global West End.”

How else can we understand the fact that in times when civilization has reached its alleged zenith, a human being starves every second (Ziegler 2004)? How can such a politics be taken seriously? It is in every sense a crime. Unfortunately, the facade of trivial “rationality” – what Hannah Arendt called the “banality of evil” – behind which it operates, still makes it invisible to many. People do not recognize its true character. This is a result of the enormous crisis of spirit and soul that accompanies the material crisis that many of us remain unaware of; namely, the annihilation of matter through its transformation into commodity, which we, in delusion, call “materialism” (I call it “patriarchy”, Werlhof 2001 a). The original richness of mat(t)er (“mother earth”) is now giving way to a barren wasteland that will remain unrecognized by many as long as their belief in “progress” will block their views. The last phase of patriarchy and capitalism is not only without sense but it will soon be without life as well: kaputalism.

It seems impossible not to ask oneself how the entire economy came to follow one motive only: the monism of making money. Especially since this does not only apply to the economy, but also to politics, science, arts and even our social relations.

The notion that capitalism and democracy are one is proven a myth by neoliberalism and its “monetary totalitarianism” (Genth 2006). The primacy of politics over economy has been lost. Politicians of all parties have abandoned it. It is the corporations that dictate politics. Where corporate interests are concerned, there is no place for democratic convention or community control. Public space disappears. The “res publica” turns into a “res privata”, or – as we could say today – a “res privata transnationale” (in its original Latin meaning, “privare” means “to deprive”). Only those in power still have rights. They give themselves the licenses they need, from the “license to plunder” to the “license to kill” (Mies/Werlhof 2003, Mies 2005). Those who get in their way or challenge their “rights” are vilified, criminalized and to an increasing degree defined as “terrorists”, or, in the case of defiant governments, as “rogue states” – a label that usually implies threatened or actual military attack, as we can see in the cases of Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq, and maybe Syria and Iran in the near future. US President Bush has even spoken of the possibility of “preemptive” nuclear strikes should the US feel endangered by weapons of mass destruction (Chossudovsky 2005). The European Union did not object (Chossudovsky 2006).

Neoliberalism and war are two sides of the same coin (Altvater/Chossudovsky/Roy/Serfati 2003, Mies 2005). Free trade, piracy, and war are still “an inseparable three” – today maybe more so than ever. War is not only “good for the economy” (Hendersen 1996), but is indeed its driving force and can be understood as the “continuation of economy with other means”. War and economy have become almost indistinguishable (Werlhof 2005 b). Wars about resources (Klare 2001) – especially oil and water – have already begun. The Gulf Wars are the most obvious examples. Militarism once again appears as the “executor of capital accumulation” (Luxemburg 1970) – potentially everywhere and enduringly.

Human rights and rights of sovereignty have been transferred from people, communities and governments to corporations (Clarke 1998). The notion of the people as a sovereign body has practically been abolished. We have witnessed a coup of sorts. The political systems of the West and the nation state as guarantees for and expression of the international division of labor in the modern world system are increasingly dissolving (Sassen 2000). Nation states are developing into “periphery states” according to the inferior role they play in the proto-despotic “New World Order” (Hardt/Negri 2001, Chomsky 2003). Democracy appears outdated. After all, it “hinders business” (Werlhof 2005 a).

The “New World Order” implies a new division of labor that does no longer distinguish between North and South, East and West – today, everywhere is South. An according International Law is established which effectively functions from top to bottom (“top-down”) and eliminates all local and regional communal rights. And not only that: many such rights are rendered invalid both retroactively and for the future (cf. the “roll back” and “stand still” clauses in the WTO agreements, Mies/Werlhof 2003).

The logic of neoliberalism as a sort of totalitarian neo-mercantilism is that all resources, all markets, all money, all profits, all means of production, all “investment opportunities”, all rights, and all power belong to the corporations only. To paraphrase Richard Sennett (2005): “Everything to the Corporations!” One might add: “Now!”

The corporations are free to do whatever they please with what they get. Nobody is allowed to interfere. Ironically, we are expected to rely on them to find a way out of the crisis we are in. This puts the entire globe at risk since responsibility is something the corporations do not have or know. The times of social contracts are gone (Werlhof 2003 a). In fact, pointing out the crisis alone has become a crime and all critique will soon be defined as “terror” and persecuted as such (Chossudovsky 2005).
Neoliberal Politics in Action

The logic of neoliberalism does not remain in the economic sphere alone. Instead, it enters and transforms politics and hence – since the events in Chile in 1973 – creates global injustice. The injustice’s executors are Western governments, corporate entities (like the International Chamber of Commerce, ICC, the European Round Table of Industrialists, ERT, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD, the European Services Network, ESN, the US Coalition of Service Industries, USCSI, etc.), and the post-WW-II Bretton-Woods institutions like the World Bank (WB) the International Monetary Fond (IMF), and the World Trade Organization (WTO – the continuation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, GATT, abolished in 1994) (Perkins 2004).

The theory of capitalism embodying a “natural law” receives massive support in the neoliberal era. This helps not only to globalize capitalism’s power, but also to accelerate the globalization of neoliberalism. “Speed kills” is the obscene slogan used to describe this development by many Western politicians. This confirms that they are aware of what is going on and of what they are doing. The slogan hints at the fact that once neoliberal “reforms” (which actually “deform”) gain a certain momentum, it becomes impossible for the people affected to keep up with what is happening – the reforms are decided above their heads and implemented behind their backs. Once the consequences kick in – which usually happens with a short delay – those responsible are long gone and/or there is no legal way to “rectify” anything (Werlhof 2005 a). Due to such foul play, protest and resistance are always late. Once they arise, everything has already become irrevocable reality – it appears as if a “natural” catastrophe has taken place.

It is the same politicians who tell us that there is no stopping globalization and that their “reform politics” are the solution and not the problem, and who have, in fact, introduced and enforced the global neoliberalism they describe as an inescapable part of history. They have done this within nation state policies as well as through participation in the bodies of the EU and the WTO, the World Bank and the IMF. Of course we have never heard any proper explanation as to why they have done this (and, in fact, continue to do so). This goes seemingly for all political parties – without exception (?) – that retain some kind of power or nestle in its proximity (Dimmel/Schmee 2005). Some of them even appear to have forgotten that just a short while ago they still knew alternatives and held opposite views. What has happened to them? Were they bought? Threatened? Extorted? “Brainwashed”?

One thing is clear: The politicians do not suffer from the misery they create and justify every day. They act as employees of corporations and take care of the everyday political business the corporations cannot or do not want to take care of themselves. But again, let us take one step at a time...

Since the 1980s, it is mainly the Structural Adjustment Programs, SAPs, of the World Bank and the IMF that act as the enforcers of neoliberalism. These programs are levied against the countries of the South which can be extorted due to their debts. Meanwhile, numerous military interventions and wars help to take possession of the assets that still remain, secure resources, install neoliberalism as the global economic politics, crush resistance movements (which are cynically labeled as “IMF uprisings”), and facilitate the lucrative business of reconstruction (Chossudovsky 2002, Mies 2005, Bennholdt-Thomsen/Faraclas/Werlhof 2001).

In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher introduced neoliberalism in Anglo-America. In 1989, the so-called “Washington Consensus” was formulated. It claimed to lead to global freedom, prosperity and economic growth through “deregulation, liberalization and privatization”. This has become the credo and promise of all neoliberals. Today we know that the promise has come true for the corporations only – not for anybody else.

In the Middle East, the Western support for Saddam Hussein in the war between Iraq and Iran in the 1980s, and the Gulf War of the early 1990s, announced the permanent US presence in the world’s most contested oil region.

In continental Europe, neoliberalism began with the crisis in Yugoslavia caused by the SAPs of the World Bank and the IMF. The country was heavily exploited, fell apart, and finally beset by a civil war over its last remaining resources (Chossudovsky 2002). Since the NATO war in 1999 (Richter/Schnähling/Spoo 2000), the Balkans are fragmented, occupied and geopolitically under neoliberal control. The region is of main strategic interest for future oil and gas transport from the Caucasus to the West (for example the “Nabucco” gas pipeline that is supposed to start operating from the Caspian Sea through Turkey and the Balkans by 2011, Lietaer 2006). The reconstruction of the Balkans is exclusively in the hands of Western corporations.

Many European Union contracts – for example those of Maastricht and Amsterdam – are blatantly neoliberal (Boulboullé 2003). They declare Europe a neoliberal zone and leave no alternative. All governments, whether left, right, liberal or green, accept this. There is no analysis of the connection between the politics of neoliberalism, its history, its background and its effects on Europe and other parts of the world. Likewise, there is no analysis of its connection to the new militarism.

If we take the example of Austria, approximately 66% of its population voted for joining the EU in 1995 without having received any information about what this actually meant. As a consequence, we first had the so-called “austerity package”, an SAP equivalent, that started the redistribution of wealth from the bottom to the top. Then tax reforms followed, privatizations, the reform of the pension system. Finally, the Euro caused an inflation of more than 30% and an according loss of income overnight (a fact that is still officially denied). Today, the unemployment rates are rising and working conditions deteriorate across the country (Sozialministerium 2005). 80% of all laws regulating life in Austria are passed in Brussels. The Austrian government’s actual power is minimal and it has practically given up its responsibility for the population. However, more than ten years after joining the EU, there is still no public debate on what neoliberalism has to do with the EU, or what Austria has to do with Chile or the Congo.

When the WTO was founded in 1995, the EU member states adapted all WTO agreements on neoliberal enforcement unanimously. These agreements included: the Multilateral Agreement on Investments (MAI), the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), and the Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) which has meanwhile been supplemented by the Agreement on Non-Agricultural-Market Access (NAMA). All these agreements aim at a rapid global implementation of corporate rule.

THE MAI, for example, demanded at a total liberation of all corporate activities (defined as “investments”). These activities were to be freed of all interference, legal bindings or state regulations. This should have first applied to all 29 OECD member countries, and then be extended to all 150 countries assembled in the WTO (Mies/Werlhof 2003). It actually proved impossible to implement the agreement in the form it was planned. Most of its contents, however, have later been implemented by other means (see II).

Never before, not even in colonial times, have those in power so completely been “freed” from all responsibility for their actions. No wonder the MAI negotiations had been kept secret for years. However, the trade unions knew, since they were part of the negotiations through the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) that took part at the OECD conferences in Paris when the MAI was discussed.

Information about the MAI was leaked to the public in 1997. Still, even then many political bodies, like the Austrian Ministry for Economy, simply tried to play it down and accuse its critics of “cowardice” (since they were supposedly afraid of “something new”), “xenophobia” (towards the multinationals!) and “conspiracy theories”. No one ever spoke of “theories”, though: the contents of the MAI – which truly transcend the wildest imaginations – are no theories but the praxis of neoliberalism. And no one spoke of “conspiracies” either – because there were none: governments were part of the agreement, certain NGOs were, of course corporations, and even trade unions. Then again, if all representatives of power can form their own conspiracy, then this truly was one. In any case, the people of this planet, who bear the agreement’s weight, were not informed – leave alone invited to participate.

To a large degree, the contents of the MAI have become reality through bilateral treaties and the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, signed by the US, Canada and Mexico in 1994. The attempt to turn all of the Americas into a Free Trade Zone, the FTAA, has so far failed, due to the resistance of most Latin American governments – this, without doubt, provides hope.

Negotiations of the GATS, the so-called General Agreement on Trade in Services, have also been kept secret since the late 1990s. The GATS stands for total corporate “privatization” and “commercialization” of life, and for the transformation of all of life’s dimensions into “trade-related”, meaning: “commercial”, services or commodities (Mies/Werlhof 2003, p. 7ff). The GATS can be understood as a global process of successive “liberalization” of services. Suggestions are collected from all WTO member countries and according demands directed back at them. It often enough proves impossible to gain insight into what these demands actually contain. “Sensitive” areas like education, health or water supply are reputedly excluded from the negotiations, which is a proven lie. In Austria, for example, the foundation of medical universities is a clear indication for the privatization of health services, and the University Law of 2002, the UG02, is an indication of the privatization of education at the tertiary level (Werlhof 2005 a). Such privatizations have already been happening internationally for years. Many in Austria saw the development as an expression of the conservative-right “black-blue”1 coalition government and not of neoliberal politics – as if we could have expected anything else from a “red-green”2 government. In any case, consequences were, among others, the abolition of free university access, democratic student rights, and tenure jobs. Instead, university fees and authoritarian corporate structures were introduced – the latter demonstrating a well hidden neoliberal absolutism. Funding for the humanities was cut and an academic “evaluation” system modeled after private business criteria implemented (Progress 2002-2004). The re-organization und economization of academic research and teaching in the name of higher investment possibilities and the profitability of the transnational education industry are in full swing. The rationale that has entered our universities is that good research is research that brings money. This is truly a declaration of intellectual bankruptcy (Werlhof 2003 b).

Privatization has been a main feature in Austrian politics for many years now, especially concerning the country’s infrastructure. The development is exemplified in the Cross-Border Leasing (CBL) contracts which have been signed between many Austrian towns and US investors (Rügemer 2004, Oberhöller 2006). The contracts gave the towns the so-called “Barwertvorteil” (“present value advantage”), an immediate payment the US investors provided as a cut from their tax exemptions for direct foreign investment – in return, parts of the towns’ infrastructure were “leased” to them. However, these parts were immediately “leased back” because it was still the towns that were expected to maintain the infrastructure – but now for foreign proprietors. Whatever happened with the payments, no one knows. What one does know is that the loophole in the US tax law that made them possible has been closed and that all CBL contracts have retroactively been declared illegal in early 2004 (Der Standard 2005). It seems fair to assume that many more such deals will eventually be revealed. Austrians then might finally get to know about all the silverware that has been sold, as well as about the extent and forms of corruption involved – a characteristic feature in privatizations (Barlow/Clarke 2003, Shiva 2003).

In the GATS, services are defined as “everything that cannot fall on your foot”, as someone once remarked ironically. This means that they are no longer reduced to traditional services, but now extend to human thoughts, feelings and actions as well. Even the elements – air, water, earth, fire (energy) – are increasingly turned into commodities (in some places this process is already completed) in order to make profit from the fact that we have to breathe, drink, stand and move (Barlow 2001, Isla 2003).

In Nicaragua, there exist water privatization plans that include fines of up to ten months’ salary if one was to hand a bucket of water to a thirsty neighbor who cannot afford her own water connection (Südwind 2003). If it was up to the water corporations – the biggest of which are French and German (Vivendi Universal, Suez, RWE), which means that the privatization of water is mainly a European business – then the neighbor was rather to die of thirst. After all, compassion only upsets business.

In India, whole rivers have been sold. Stories tell of women who came to the river banks with buffalos, children and their laundry, as they had done for generations, only to be called “water thieves” and chased away by the police. There are even plans to sell the “holy mother Ganges” (Shiva 2003).

Fresh water (just about 2% of the earth’s water reserves) is as such neither renewable nor increasable and of such essential importance to local ecosystems that it seems utterly absurd to treat it is a commodity that can be traded away (Barlow/Clarke 2003, Shiva 2003). Nonetheless, this is already happening. The effects, of course, are horrendous. Coca-Cola has left parts of the southern Indian state of Kerala a virtual desert by exploiting their entire ground water reserves.

According to the intentionally “weak” corporate definition of the term, even “investments” can nowadays count as “services”. There is, for example, much talk about “financial services” – which also means that the MAI has basically been incorporated into the GATS. The GATS is, so to speak, the MAI for the whole world. (There are also current attempts to reintroduce the MAI on the OECD level.)

The so-called “Bolkestein Directive” (named after the former EU Commissioner Bolkestein, cf. Dräger 2005) can be seen as one of the GATS’ latest versions. It aims at a sort of privatization of salaries within the EU. This means that migrant workers in the EU are paid according to the salaries of their countries of origin, irrespective of the salary standards of the countries they work in. Once this directive is in effect, all obstacles to “Chinese labor conditions” are gone, and European trade unions will basically be rendered obsolete. This makes the fact that they have shown so little resistance against neoliberalism ever more curious.

The GATS can be considered the most radical expression of militant neoliberalism so far because it formulates its ultimate ambition in a way it has not been formulated before; namely, that no social, cultural, public or natural sectors should remain outside of economic control and exploitation – without exception. The GATS has hence to be understood as the attempt to turn absolutely everything in this world into “commodities” or commercial “services” in order to extract profit. This applies to all of nature (animals and plants as much as natural elements and landscapes), the entire human being (including its skin, hair, etc.) and all aspects of human life: work and leisure, sexuality and pregnancy, birth and death, sickness and distress, peace and war, desire and will, spirit and soul (Frauennetz Attac 2003).

What will happen when there are no non-commercial areas left? What if the division between “life with value” and “life without value” becomes normal social praxis? (This division was first heralded in National Socialism as a quasi futuristic concept, Ruault 2006. No backwardness here!) What if the way to deal with humans as so-called “human capital” starts to define everyday life? What will happen when everything has become a commodity? Is this even possible?

If it is, then life would essentially stop. Nothing could be turned into commodities anymore and the commodified world would collapse and decease – including us humans. This would mean general death – a death without new life to follow. Since the commodity has no life of its own but is only “life that once was”, it cannot produce new life (Werlhof 2006).

It is only because of thousands of years of patriarchal “alchemical” thought (Werlhof 2001 a) that the (allegedly “creative”) transformation of nature and living creatures into (partly or completely) artificial things is not conceived as the destruction it is. Instead, it is understood as producing something “higher”, “more noble”, “better”. Due to its global and potentially complete enforcement, the latest stage of this transformation, namely modern commodity production, reveals how most people did indeed fall for this “alchemical belief in miracles” and its so-called “progress”. It is a form of religious belief that we are describing here – one that has been able to prevent many from recognizing the violence that is an imminent part of the process it supports. Hence, we have been unable to stop it. Let us take the GATS as an example: not even completely implemented yet, it is already responsible for enormous – and partly irreparable – damage done to the earth and all of us.

The TRIPS overlaps with the GATS insofar as it tries to co-opt the thought and experience of thousand-year old cultures, meaning: their spiritual legacy. The goal, of course, is to get paid. Formerly persecuted cultures now become interesting as a source of corporate profit. Ironically, “trade-related” intellectual property rights are established not to protect these cultures’ legacies but their corporate exploitation. And not only that: The same intellectual property rights are also used to force Western thought and experience onto others – if necessary, by violence.

Patent rights are used to protect all related interests. So-called “patents for life” take on special meaning in this context as they go hand in hand with the rapid development of genetic engineering (Shiva 2004). What happens is that once a genetic manipulation has occurred, something “new” has been invented that someone can lay a legal claim on. Sometimes, however, one does not even deem this necessary. The genes of plants, animals, even humans, are sometimes stolen, claimed as “discovered” and made one’s own legal “property”. This “bio piracy” (Thaler 2004) exploits the profit potentials of all resources by charging others monopoly prices for using them. There is now a patent on “Basmati” rice. A patent claim to the Indian neem tree did almost pass.

The best known example for a company selling its “inventions” is the case of Monsanto. Monsanto tries to make all peasants and farmers of the planet dependent on its genetically modified seeds that are, intentionally, only fertile once (“terminator seeds”). This means that the farmers have to buy new seeds from the company every year. This is already happening in most parts of India where many thousands of peasants have been forced to give up farming which, in turn, led to a shocking number of suicides (Shiva 2004). The Indian physician, ecologist and globalization critic Vandana Shiva calls this process “trading our lives away” (Shiva 1995). In Korea, “WTO kills farmers!” has become a popular slogan amongst many farming communities.

The transnational agro-industrial corporations now even discuss a general prohibition of “traditional” farming methods (arte 2005). Iraqi farmers have already been forced to burn all their seeds since the US invasion and use “terminator seeds” instead – this in Mesopotamia, the “cradle of agriculture” (Junge Welt 2004). What these developments make clear is that genetic engineering is not about a better life but about installing global monopolies. This becomes most obvious in the current attempts to implement monopoly control on basic products and services which each human being’s life depends on. Now we understand the meaning of the rally cries “Agrobusiness is the Biggest Business!” or “Wheat Becomes a Weapon!” (Krieg 1980)

Meanwhile, problems with genetically modified organisms, GMOs, are on the increase everywhere. Genetically modified seeds, for example, are expensive, vulnerable and of poor quality (Grössler 2005). They constantly need more – instead of less – pesticides. They also “pollute”, which means that they destroy the non-modified species (while not being able to reproduce themselves – or only partially, Verhaag 2004). It becomes harder and harder to deny that GMOs cause irreversible destruction of a still unknown part of flora and – depending on how they are used – fauna. A new infertility enters the world instead of a new creation. The consequence is an artificially created death – a death with no life to follow. No one seems to know how to prevent this (Werlhof 2006).

All this sounds like a nightmare. Unfortunately, it is reality. For example, there is no more natural rapeseed in Canada. In Argentina and China, millions of hectares are sown with GMO seeds. Emergency deliveries to regions affected by famine consist almost exclusively of such seeds. In Germany, cows that were fed with GMO feed died a horrible death after two-and-a-half years (Glöckner 2005). Even in Austria, where people take pride in being environmentally conscious, no GMO free animal feed remains on the market, and GMO rapeseed is being planted despite all negative experiences (Karg 2005).

It is hard to grasp what is happening. Food is produced that kills – yet people are forced to eat it. And not only that: they have to pay a lot of money for it too! A grosser distortion of life is hardly imaginable. Amongst the most ludicrous examples is the idea to distribute contraceptive GMO corn, developed by the Swiss company Syngenta, in regions that suffer from so-called “overpopulation” (Reiter 2005). This means genocide, murder and business, all in one!

The idea of a technological progress that follows the notion of a machine technology can never offer any prospects – even when people mean to do good instead of kill. The destruction of life cycles and the manipulation of some of their components can never create a substitute for non-manipulated life – in any case, none that would be superior (Werlhof 1997). Characteristically, the cows that died in Germany died of different forms of circulatory collapse. They had, in a sense, lost the bodily (and spiritual?) cycles on which their existence is based (we may also think of the symptoms of BSE, the so-called “mad cow disease”). What confused their owner most, however, was that neither politicians nor scientists were interested in what had happened.

Meanwhile, the US have achieved that the EU can be forced to introduce and use GMO products (Felber 2005). Certain politicians, like the current German Minister of Agriculture; Seehofer; already work hard on implementing these demands (Alt 2005). By doing so, they simply ignore the fact that the majority of European consumers have so far clearly rejected GMO “food” (Greenpeace 2004).

The AoA, the WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture, is a prime example for how “free trade” sure does not mean the same for everyone. On the one hand, it allows the North to force its agricultural surplus onto the South by means of highly subsidized dumping prices, thereby destroying the national markets and sale opportunities for local farmers; on the other hand, products from the South are kept from Northern markets by tax barriers. Since three billion of the world’s people still work as small farmers (Amin 2004), the AoA threatens the survival of more than half the world’s population. This not only because the AoA changes the markets in favor of the agricultural corporations; the AoA also erodes – in combination with the TRIPS – the existential basis of the world’s farmers by other means. To begin with, much of their land is – ever more rapidly – acquired by foreign companies. These implement their new seeds, and often only focus on luxury goods (such as shrimps and flowers) for the markets of the wealthy without giving any consideration to local needs (Widerspruch 2004). The reality resembles that of colonial times, only that the damage done now is worse since subsistence production itself falls victim to neo-colonial destruction (Bennholdt-Thomsen/Mies/Werlhof 1988). After all, no profit is to be made with subsistence production. As a consequence, more and more farmers turn to commodity production for the world market. However, this does not help them either. The profit is always made by others (Shiva 2004).

The NAMA negotiations featured strongly at the WTO Summit in Hong Kong in December 2005. In line with all other WTO agreements, every nature-related activity was defined as economically exploitable even when it did not immediately relate to agriculture, but, for example, fishery, forestry, or even the control of oxygen (Isla 2005). In short, total commercialization was proclaimed. One of the most immediate consequences was the loss of living space for indigenous people. Meanwhile, their resistance was criminalized and they were accused of trying to “expropriate” corporations and of “violating” their rights (Goldman 1998).

It is safe to call all WTO agreements malicious. They are all exclusively based on corporate interests. They have no regard for life. Life exists only for exploitation and annihilation.

When they concern corporate interests (investment, service, intellectual property), all WTO regulations are vague, widely accommodating and open to interpretation – when they concern challenges to these interests (“obstacles” of whatever sort, or “creeping expropriation”), they become very definite and unbendable.

Branding people who take the corporations to task as “expropriators” is of course only cynical. In reality, it is the corporations that expropriate the people. On top of this, the only safeguards the corporations are concerned about are their own. In any other case, safeguards are deemed “protectionism” and harshly condemned. The same goes for customs duties or subsidies. The corporations’ “liberalism” consists of expecting others to drop all guards. There is no liberalism outside the one that serves corporate interests.

Today, the rights of corporations are better protected than those of human individuals. We might even say that “human rights” only apply to corporations. After all, individuals will always claim their rights in conflicts with corporations in vain. Only corporations have the power to effectively sue everyone who jeopardizes their interests.

The WTO itself demonstrates how to prevail against resistance by such means. It contains the so-called “Dispute Settlement Mechanism”, a kind of international court that allows to enforce its agreements and resolutions, when necessary by means of harsh punishment, especially financially. At this court – which, exactly like the WTO as a whole, has no democratic legitimacy – corporations and their representatives can claim the “rights” that the WTO agreements grant them against state governments and other national or communal bodies. They usually win. Reverse procedures are impossible: no state government or other national body – not to even mention communities not defined by a nation state – even have the right to sue corporations. So, essentially, this means that no rights other than those of the corporations even exist any longer – not even on paper (Werlhof 2003 a).

How can one explain such a politics to people and have them agree with it? Not at all, of course. This is why nothing ever is explained. Neoliberalism does not bother with ideology. Neoliberalism is a conscious betrayal of the interests of 99% of the people on this planet. It justifies robbery and pillage. It is, both in intention and effect, a true “weapon of mass destruction” – even when no immediate wars are fought. How many lives are sacrificed to neoliberalism? Some estimate that the numbers already go into hundreds of millions (Ziegler 2004, Widerspruch 2004).

Paradoxically, the WTO and its agreements are anchored in international law while they rob and pillage the people whose rights are supposed to be protected by this law. Violations against the WTO agreements count hence as violations against a law that stands above all national and regional regulations. As a consequence, legal cases challenging the compatibility of WTO (or EU) law with national constitutions have repeatedly been rejected – in Austria as recently as in 2005.

The WTO and its agreements act effectively as a global oligarchic constitution. They are the first attempt at installing neo-totalitarian “global corporate governance” – or even a “global corporate government”. It feels like despotism is establishing itself again, but this time globally. What we are witnessing might be dubbed a new kind of “AMP”, the so-called former “Asiatic Mode of Production” – only that its origins are now American instead of Asiatic.

I think a more accurate name for the WTO would be WWO: “World War Order”. Or, alternatively, W.K.O.: “World Knock Out”. In any case, the organization sweeps across the globe like a tsunami, taking everything with it that promises profit.

I.4. European Union Neoliberalism and Militarism

On a European level, the EU functions as the continental equivalent to the WTO. The EU constitution treaty – a legal basis for a centralized European government – follows standard neoliberal principles. It is, in fact, the first constitution treaty that includes a legal commitment to a specific economic order – the neoliberal – as well as to engagement in armament and military operations (Oberansmayr 2004).

Once again, neoliberalism and militarism appear as Siamese twins (Lechthaler 2005). Economy is understood as a kind of war (both internally and externally), and military “defense” as part of the economy. This applies, in the words of the former German Minister of Defense, Struck, “even to the Hindu Kush”. Not that we should be surprised...

The draft of the EU constitution promises to be part of an effort to secure peace. This follows a peculiar logic, namely one that refers to acts of war as “humanitarian intervention” (or, alternatively, as “acts of defense” – even if there has never been an aggression), allows to claim that wars like the NATO war against Yugoslavia were none, and is able to portray the EU as an “order of peace” (Attac EU-AG Stuttgart und Region 2005). All this against the background that there will soon be deployable nuclear weapons in Europe (Galtung 1993, p. 145, Oberansmayr 2004, p. 114ff). Meanwhile, any resistance at government levels against harboring nuclear weapons has subsided, especially in France, but also in Germany. Austria keeps silent too. Politicians everywhere have given up a notion that was once sacrosanct (guernica 2006).

A particularly shocking example for the European way of blending neoliberalism with war was exposed in the documentary film “Darwin’s Nightmare” (Sauper 2005). The film depicts the development of a modern fishing industry – financed by the EU – at Lake Victoria in Tanzania.

The Nile perch, a fish growing to the size of a human being, was released into the lake in the 1950s. By now, it has all but extinguished the lake’s other species, and it is only a question of time when the world’s largest tropical lake will be dead. The majority of local fisher folk are without work and income. Women are forced into prostitution, HIV and AIDS are rampant, and youths organize in gangs. Pilots from the regions of the former Soviet Union fly the factory-packaged fish filets to their European consumers in huge Ilyushin planes. When they return, they bring weapons that are smuggled into the Congo and other African regions rattled by military conflict – forget about so-called “tribal wars”!

The deceiving self-portrayal of the EU as an “order of peace” has curious implications. It allows, for example, the Austrian government to pretend that Austria is still a neutral country. In fact, the 50th anniversary of the country’s neutrality was celebrated in 2005. This despite the fact that already in 1998, §23f was added to the Austrian constitution: a paragraph assu...


Richard C. Cook

"They make a desolation and call it peace." -Tacitus

Was Alan Greenspan really as dumb as he looks in creating the late housing bubble that threatens to bring the entire Western debt-based economy crashing down?

Was something as easy to foresee as this really the trigger for a meltdown that could destroy the world’s financial system? Or was it done, perhaps, "accidentally on purpose"?

And if so, why?

Let’s turn to the U.S. personage that conspiracy theorists most often mention as being at the epicenter of whatever elite plan is reputed to exist. This would be David Rockefeller, the 92-year-old multibillionaire godfather of the world’s financial elite.

The lengthy Wikipedia article on Rockefeller provides the following version of a celebrated statement he allegedly made in an opening speech at the Bilderberg conference in Baden-Baden, Germany, in June 1991:

"We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York Times, Time magazine, and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during these years. But the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government which will never again know war, but only peace and prosperity for the whole of humanity. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in the past centuries."

This speech was made 17 years ago. It came at the beginning in the U.S. of the Bill Clinton administration. Rockefeller speaks of an "us." This "us," he says, has been having meetings for almost 40 years. If you add the 17 years since he gave the speech it was 57 years ago—two full generations.

Not only has "us" developed a "plan for the world," but the attempt to "develop" the plan has evidently been successful, at least in Rockefeller’s mind. The ultimate goal of "us" is to create "the supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers." This will lead, he says, toward a "world government which will never again know war."

Just as an intellectual exercise, let’s assume that David Rockefeller is as important and powerful a person as he seems to think he is. Let’s give the man some credit and assume that he and "us" have in fact succeeded to a degree. This would mean that the major decisions and events since Rockefeller gave the speech in 1991 have probably also been part of the plan or that they have at least represented its features and intent.

David Rockefeller at Harvard in 2006

Therefore by examining these decisions and events we can determine whether in fact Rockefeller is being truthful in his assessment that the Utopia he has in mind is on its way or has at least come closer to being realized. In no particular order, some of these decisions and events are as follows:

The implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement by the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations has led to the elimination of millions of U.S. manufacturing jobs as well as the destruction of U.S. family farming in favor of global agribusiness.

Similar free trade agreements, including those under the auspices of the World Trade Organization, have led to export of millions of additional manufacturing jobs to China and elsewhere.

Average family income in the U.S. has steadily eroded while the share of the nation’s wealth held by the richest income brackets has soared. Some Wall Street hedge fund managers are making $1 billion a year while the number of homeless, including war veterans, pushes a million.

The housing bubble has led to a huge inflation of real estate prices in the U.S. Millions of homes are falling into the hands of the bankers through foreclosure. The cost of land and rentals has further decimated family agriculture as well as small business. Rising property taxes based on inflated land assessments have forced millions of lower-and middle-income people and elderly out of their homes.

The fact that bankers now control national monetary systems in their entirety, under laws where money is introduced only through lending at interest, has resulted in a massive debt pyramid that is teetering on collapse. This "monetarist" system was pioneered by Rockefeller-family funded economists at the University of Chicago. The rub is that when the pyramid comes down and everyone goes bankrupt the banks which have been creating money "out of thin air" will then be able to seize valuable assets for pennies on the dollar, as J.P. Morgan Chase is preparing to do with the businesses owned by Carlyle Capital. Meaningful regulation of the financial industry has been abandoned by government, and any politician that stands in the way, such as Eliot Spitzer, is destroyed.  

The total tax burden on Americans from federal, state, and local governments now exceeds forty percent of income and is rising. Today, with a recession starting, the Democratic-controlled Congress, while supporting the minuscule "stimulus" rebate, is hypocritically raising taxes further, even for middle-income earners. Back taxes, along with student loans, can no longer be eliminated by bankruptcy protection.

Gasoline prices are soaring even as companies like Exxon-Mobil are recording record profits. Other commodity prices are going up steadily, including food prices, with some countries starting to experience near-famine conditions. 40 million people in America are officially classified as "food insecure."

Corporate control of water and mineral resources has removed much of what is available from the public commons, and the deregulation of energy production has led to huge increases in the costs of electricity in many areas.

The destruction of family farming in the U.S. by NAFTA (along with family farming in Mexico and Canada) has been mirrored by policies toward other nations on the part of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Around the world, due to pressure from the "Washington consensus," local food self-sufficiency has been replaced by raising of crops primarily for export. Migration off the land has fed the population of huge slums around the cities of underdeveloped countries.

Since the 1980s the U.S. has been fighting wars throughout the world either directly or by proxy. The former Yugoslavia was dismembered by NATO. Under cover of 9/11 and by utilizing off-the-shelf plans, the U.S. is now engaged in the military conquest and permanent military occupation of the Middle East. A worldwide encirclement of Russia and China by U.S. and NATO forces is underway, and a new push to militarize space has begun. The Western powers are clearly preparing for at least the possibility of another world war.

The expansion of the U.S. military empire abroad is mirrored by the creation of a totalitarian system of surveillance at home, whereby the activities of private citizens are spied upon and tracked by technology and systems which have been put into place under the heading of the "War on Terror." Human microchip implants for tracking purposes are starting to be used. The military-industrial complex has become the nation’s largest and most successful industry with tens of thousands of planners engaged in devising new and better ways, both overt and covert, to destroy both foreign and domestic "enemies."

Meanwhile, the U.S. has the largest prison population of any country on earth. Plus everyday life for millions of people is a crushing burden of government, insurance, and financial fees, charges, and paperwork. And the simplest business transactions are burdened by rake-offs for legions of accountants, lawyers, bureaucrats, brokers, speculators, and middlemen.

Finally, the deteriorating conditions of everyday life have given rise to an extraordinary level of stress-related disease, as well as epidemic alcohol and drug addiction. Governments themselves around the world engage in drug trafficking. Instead of working to lower stress levels, public policy is skewed in favor of an enormous prescription drug industry that grows rich off the declining level of health through treatment of symptoms rather than causes. Many of these heavily-advertised medications themselves have devastating side-effects.

This list should at least give us enough to go on in order to ask a hard question. Assuming again that all these things are parts of the elitist plan which Mr. Rockefeller boasts to have been developing, isn’t it a little strange that the means which have been selected to achieve "peace and prosperity for the whole of humanity" involve so much violence, deception, oppression, exploitation, graft, and theft?

In fact it looks to me as though "our plan for the world" is one that is based on genocide, world war, police control of populations, and seizure of the world’s resources by the financial elite and their puppet politicians and military forces.

In particular, could there be a better way to accomplish all this than what appears to be a concentrated plan to remove from people everywhere in the world the ability to raise their own food? After all, genocide by starvation may be slow, but it is very effective. Especially when it can be blamed on "market forces."

And can it be that the "us" which is doing all these things, including the great David Rockefeller himself, are just criminals who have somehow taken over the seats of power? If so, they are criminals who have done everything they can to watch their backs and cover their tracks, including a chokehold over the educational system and the monopolistic mainstream media.

One thing is certain: The voters of America have never knowingly agreed to any of this.

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